Editor's note: Rockies owner Dick Monfort says the Rockies won't be sellers at the deadline and, in fact, would like to add another starting pitcher. We'll play along.
The Rockies need pitching.
The Rockies desperately need pitching.
The current state of the Colorado Rockies pitching staff is such that if they were to parade through your living room with banners and signs proclaiming who they were, they would still look like complete strangers.
I must disagree with our friends Tyler Maun and Anthony Masterson over at the Purple Dino Podcast in their reaction to the statement that the organization intends to target pitching at the trade deadline rather than look to be traditional "sellers."
Firstly, I'm with Purple Row Hall-of-Famer Sage Farron in his stance against the false dichotomy of the "buyer/seller" mind-frame. I think it's perfectly reasonable to be both and neither depending on the circumstances.
My position is (perhaps oddly) that the Rockies should fall into that category. Okay, did we all follow that? I think they should either stand pat for now (and search everywhere for pitching in the offseason) or make moves now to add whatever kind of pitching they can find, whether it be major league-ready talent or prospects.
Take a look at the Rockies' lineup. It ain't too bad. When fully healthy, it's super scary, and while it can always be improved, the Rockies should only be looking to trim around the edges for the future (sorry, but I'm looking at you Charlie Culberson).
It only takes one look at the names to see that the Rockies absolutely cannot afford to stand pat in the arm department if they want to avoid the catastrophe that has been this season. The game is a battle for an invisible cube hovering over the plate, and the Rockies cannot afford to continue to lose that battle from the hill eight times out of 10.
Let this resonate: Colorado has no fewer than 10 pitchers from whom they could get absolutely nothing next season.
Jhoulys Chacin may need the whole season to recover from injury or may simply have lost his velocity and mechanics, leaving him a shadow of his former self. Or not.
Jorge De La Rosa has been decent, but nowhere near as good as he was in 2013 and is getting older while I type this sentence. He might be on his way out the door. He might price the Rockies out of retaining him. He might just significantly decrease in value because the nature of the universe in entropy. Or not.
Brett Anderson might be broken. He might get well, then get broken again. He might not be able to pitch well again because he has been broken so many times. He might take down his Twitter account. Or not.
Eddie Butler may be injury prone. He may be too young or inexperienced in 2015 for a role near the top of the rotation that he may need to fill out of necessity. He may just turn into a pumpkin. Or not.
Jon Gray may be ready for prime time. Or not.
Jordan Lyles may have been a mirage. Or not.
Tyler Matzek may just keep getting better and better and prove to be a late bloomer. He may just end up as the walk machine we all feared he might be. Or not.
Tyler Chatwood is having Tommy John surgery. We all has a sad. He won't be available for any significant role in 2015. No "or not" for that one. His future may be as incredibly successful male model ... (ha!) or not!
Then there's Christian Bergman, who needs to show dramatic improvement (and may) in order to be ready for the big leagues. And I won't discount Tyler Anderson for next season as he has shown some great stuff in Tulsa this year, though again you can't necessarily count on anything from him at all.
Darth Jiminy Cricket, this is a mess.
So to quote one of the all-time great songwriters -- Shakira -- the Rockies should be looking for pitching "whenever, wherever."
I was bummed when the Rockies didn't land Jason Hammel last offseason and again when he was traded from the Cubs to the A's -- who, you might have heard, are not the Rockies.
He is exactly the kind of pitcher the Rockies should be targeting: mostly healthy workhorses who have shown an ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the yard.
So, who else is out there? I'll take a stab at a couple of unlikely, but if the Rockies are willing to take the risk, still realistic options:
The Cubs have shown that they are clearly willing to move pieces that are performing now in order to keep stockpiling resources for their future, as evidenced by the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade.
Why do the Rockies want him?: In thirteen games he has an ERA of 1.95, 9.77 K/9, and a 2.14 FIP. He induces grounders 50.5 percent of the time and is only walking 2.53 batters per nine innings. He is signed through 2017.
Why the Cubs would trade him: Because they want young players who will be coming into their primes as Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, and the rest of the gang establish themselves.
This is where it gets tricky. The Rockies should also be in the business of stockpiling prospects. But as I mentioned, the offense is very close to set and already includes a good mix of veterans (Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez) and young players (Nolan Arenado, Corey Dickerson) so it wouldn't hurt to move a few select pieces.
I'm not sure a package around Josh Rutledge nets Jake Arrietta but they may also be interested in a Kyle Parker for a corner outfield spot, an area where they could use help. Maybe they think their genius brain trust can fix Wilin Rosario, though they like what they have at catcher and first. Maybe a flip candidate.
Arrieta isn't worth David Dahl, but he may end up being worth Trevor Story or Rosell Herrera. He wasn't exceptional in the minors, so the Rockies need to be careful not to overpay. But these are the players who should be in the discussion for actual live-bodied major league pitchers.
Before you laugh me out of the room, realize that we are on the internet and there is no room.
But seriously folks, it wouldn't be a terrible idea. Justin Millar at SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish wrote this about Price:
Part of his ultra-high trade value comes from the ability for any acquiring team to flip him this winter or at next year's trade deadline (as Dave Cameron points out), which makes it possible for low-payroll clubs, such as the Indians, to afford him.
No reason you can't substitute the Rockies for the Indians there.
I am typically very against the idea of trading Carlos Gonzalez, but if the Rockies had any indication that Price would re-sign here, they should consider it. If not, maybe even Dickerson or Dahl, or some combination of decent prospects, because (as Millar points out) the Rockies could always flip him next year for a similar type haul.
He is a sell-low candidate having a down year and has pitched well in the NL West before. Who knows, he may just love being back out here. It would be a low pressure environment for him and the Rockies could likely get him without having to move much of consequence.
He wouldn't shake up the world, but he is certainly more reliable than what the Rockies have.
Maybe a rare opportunity comes up to trade for some decent bullpen arms. Maybe the Marlins decide to be "sellers" and put some of their promising young pitching on the market in exchange for some young position players. Maybe an American League team thinks they can better use Wilin Rosario or Josh Rutledge.
For the right deal, in order to improve pitching, the Rockies should be wiling to move those players as well as (as much as I hate to say it) Carlos Gonzalez. Though for CarGo, it absolutely has to be an overpay on the other team's part.
Charlie Blackmon, Justin Morneau, Drew Stubbs, Brandon Barnes are among those who could be decent sell-high candidates, and if they can net even semi-decent pitching, the Rockies need to have some very long conversations.