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Saturday Rockpile: Inactivity at the trade deadline

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The Rockies were not the only National League team that had a quiet trade deadline, as a lack of moves is becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Ian Kennedy was the most significant non-Cubs NL player moved at the trade deadline in 2013. He has a 5.23 ERA this season.
Ian Kennedy was the most significant non-Cubs NL player moved at the trade deadline in 2013. He has a 5.23 ERA this season.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In the days leading up to the trade deadline this season, just two National League teams acquired players in trades, as the Padres acquired struggling starter Ian Kennedy from the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers picked up backup catcher Drew Butera from the Twins.

The only other move involving an NL team, aside from the Cubs who were in fire sale mode, was the Cardinals sending reliever Mark Rzepczynski to the Indians.

In other words, 10 of 15 NL teams made no moves at all at the deadline, and the most significant player moved in the NL outside of the Cubs' fire sale was a 28-year-old starting pitcher with a 5.23 ERA.

This is likely because there isn't much of a playoff race in the NL this season. The Pirates, Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals and Reds currently hold the five playoff spots and only one team, Arizona, is within five games of any of them, so teams were unwilling to give up valuable prospects to either chase a playoff spot that was likely a long shot or further secure their already secure place in the postseason.

Also, there are a half-dozen NL teams between five and ten games out of the second wild card spot, and all of them, including the Rockies, felt little need for a major sell-off and rebuild.

The Rockies are actually a prime example of this mindset, roughly a half-dozen games out of a playoff spot, they felt no need to swing for the fences in 2013 but feel they have a core including Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Wilin Rosario, Nolan Arenado, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood and Rex Brothers to build around that can bring them success in the near future. While the club's decision to hold onto Michael Cuddyer is debatable, they really weren't in position to make a significant move.

The addition of the second wild card will only encourage teams league-wide to approach the deadline with the mentality the Rockies did in 2013, perhaps pushing the deadline back to mid-August would encourage movement as there would be more solid buyers and sellers, but that would likely drive down the cost of rentals such as Matt Garza, dis-incentivizing teams to make moves for them. As it stands now, the Rockies lack of moves at the deadline was simply the team being a product of it's environment.

LINKS:

Dick Monfort not waving white flag on 2013 Colorado Rockies season just yet - Denver Post
Rockies owner Dick Monfort tells Troy Renck that despite being swept in Atlanta, he's not willing to give up on the season yet, because the owner of a team that includes Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez can't really say anything different.

Eddie Butler, rising Rockies pitcher, headed to Double-A Tulsa Drillers - Denver Post
Irv Moss discusses Eddie Butler's promotion to Tulsa in his weekly minor league report, which also features an update on Jordan Pacheco.

Rockies need to fix holes in roster for chance to compete -- next year - Denver Post
Patrick Saunders opines that the recent Atlanta series exposed some weakness in the Rockies roster that have to be remedied if the team wants to contend in 2014.

How the Pittsburgh Pirates were built - Baseball Nation
The Rockies current opponents hold the best record in the NL this season; Grant Brisbee takes a look at how the Pirates came together.