This week, the Dodgers flashed their baseball Black Card, and A.J. Preller set the world on fire. Oh, and as you know, the Rockies — still in need of pitching — signed free agent Daniel Descalso to give their infield some kind-of needed depth. #WarmStove. With the N.L. West shaping up to be an offensive powerhouse, Rockies fans are anxious for an impact move. Trade speculation around Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez is being increasingly overrun by discussions involving a new era of Rockies trade chips: you've come to know and love them, they’re your 2015 "Sell High" guys.
Dickerson returned to The Show guns blazing in 2014, leading the team in home runs and putting up a slash line of .312/.364/.533. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no surprise the Rockies have been receiving inquiries on the 25-year-old slugger. The trouble with Corey isn’t his ability to turn would-be balls into moonshots — he’s got that covered. What teams want to see is an improvement in his defense and better judgement on the base paths. Regardless, Dickerson could yield a hefty return from a pitching rich organization looking for run support.
If his numbers this year are any indication of what’s to come, Corey could become a very expensive player to hold on to in the prime of his career. Is that a price the Rockies are willing to pay for a power bat in a park that plays to his advantage? Quite possibly, however, this is already a club deep with offensive potential. The Rockies have years to mill it over if they want, but they need pitching now, and could see teams bend backward to get their hands on Corey this coming year.
Charlie was the talk of all of baseball the first month or so of the season, but as things go with hot streaks, the cool came quickly. Even with the shine worn off, Blackmon continued to make contributions on both sides of the ball. The game saving-center field snag that delayed the disappointment of last season’s six and a half hour contest in Chicago, a walk off of the would be World Champion San Francisco Giants, his election to the All-Star team.
There are too many fond memories of post-April Charlie Blackmon for me to chalk him up as a fluke. Blackmon notched 72 RBIs, 19 home runs, and 28 stolen bases last season. His seven errors on the year do him no justice considering the 1,200+ innings played, and that five of those were committed in left field — two of which came in the same inning. Easy fix there: don’t put him in left! For the most part, he plays fast and smart, the kind of guy you’ve got to look up from the stat sheet to appreciate. Cashing out on Charlie Blackmon is a gamble. A trade return would likely include a mid-level starting pitcher or promising young reliever. The Rockies need guys to eat innings and keep the damage down, but at some point they may start to miss Charlie. Sure, he probably won't see another six-for-six game in his career, but he’s a reliable defender with speed, power and a strong arm.
As with the majority of their 2014 standouts, the Rockies had a bargain in Blackmon. But unlike Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon will most likely remain relatively inexpensive given his age. Obviously, at 28 he’s got the bulk of his MLB career ahead of him yet, but historically it is a factor in long-term, big money contracts. The Rockies could choose to hold on to Blackmon through his most productive years for roughly the cost of Drew Stubbs, and would still very well end up getting more than what they’re paying for
Ah, yes. "Golden" Arenado: Rockies Sweetheart. Miss a month of the season and still be the obvious third base Gold Glove recipient over some of the most established hot corner handlers in baseball. He’s high energy and hyper talented, which is just the kind of player the Rockies need as a motivating force on the field and in the clubhouse. Fans love him, players love him, he talks the ears off of opposing teams’ third base coaches, and he makes Drew Goodman yell. He's a special talent, an up-and-coming face of the franchise if the Rockies don’t opt to find a worthy suitor.
This is a sell way high guy. The tremendous success of his first two MLB seasons, coupled with only minor injuries that are not expected to impact his future, make him the kind of payer organizations shell out big for. Trading Nolan Arenado could warrant an ace to Colorado, or a handful of top prospects and then some, in what would be a move so textbook Billy Beane they’d have to cite him in the contract. Do I smell smoke with this one? Not quite. But stranger things have happened.
Morneau is a seasoned professional. The 2006 American League MVP, four time All-Star, two time Silver Slugger recipient, 2014 National League Batting Champion. As he showed in his resilient bounce back campaign, Justin is as big league as it gets. The Rockies have the depth to potentially ship Morneau off at some point, and would no doubt reap talent as a result.
At 33, this season could be the most lucrative time to move Morneau, who will be a free agent in 2016. What makes Justin an interesting trade chip is that teams know what they’re getting with him. Even with the occasional neck stiffness, Morneau is among the elite at his position. A team is undoubtedly a step closer to contention with Justin Morneau in their lineup. For the Rockies, that means a much-needed starting pitcher could come in return. It also means giving up the most productive bat in their lineup for a player they’ll see every fifth day.
If there’s one thing to be said about the players mentioned above, it’s that there’s obviously no shortage of talent. Though it can be hard to see it from this point of view, these are good problems to have. "Sell high" trades are the Russian roulette of baseball, so I commend Jeff Bridich’s level head — if that’s what it is — through the chaos of recent events.
These are not the guys to deal as the result of hitting the panic button. The Rockies don't know what to expect from their division in 2015. No one does. There’s going to be unpredicted breakouts and devastating letdowns, because eventually business does give way to baseball. At this point, the Rockies may feel it out a bit, wait until the season is underway to cash in on major players. The club has options, but not excuses, for bringing in the kind of pitching they need.