Last year around this time, I wrote about Colorado at the MLB trade deadline and how the team was not going to be a participant in the festivities. The words I wrote then also apply to this year:
The Rockies are not going to make the playoffs this year.
The Rockies are, as they have in almost every year of their existence, not going to buy or sell much at the deadline.
It's a year later and not much has changed in this standpoint. Yes, some of the cast is different, but the play is following a similar script. The Rockies are on pace for a losing, top ten (or five) draft pick kind of season and they appear to be uninterested in making a move at the non-waiver MLB trade deadline.
Sure, there are trade rumors about the Rockies. There are the near constant rumblings of a not-gonna-happen (at least, certainly not by tomorrow's non-waiver trade deadline, probably not at all) Troy Tulowitzki trade, the murmurs of interest in a deal involving closer LaTroy Hawkins (the Rockies aren't interested), and rumors about players like Jorge De La Rosa, Brett Anderson, and Drew Stubbs. The Rockies just appear to be in "thanks but no thanks" mode with all of these trades.
Which is mystifying from a logic standpoint and completely unsurprising from someone who has followed this team closely for a long time. I don't know all of the MLB teams, but this team appears to be head and shoulders above the rest in being insular with free agent signings and trades.
Here's how I see this situation playing out - the Rockies will more or less sit tight at the deadline, they'll suffer a season of somewhere close to 90-95 losses, and then they'll do everything they can to get the band back together on that 90-95 loss team.
After all, the team is already rumored to be picking up Anderson's $12 million option next year, they want to exercise Hawkins's $2.25 million option, they have professed the desire to re-sign impending free agents Jorge De La Rosa (perhaps with a $14.1 million qualifying offer, which he should accept in a heartbeat) and Michael Cuddyer (despite having five or six other capable outfielders on the roster).
Tulo's salary jumps from $16 million to $20 million next year, CarGo's salary is up from $10.9 million this year to $16.4 million next year, Boone Logan and Justin Morneau both will make more money on backloaded contracts. Several players will be getting more expensive (or will be injured and not worth the money) arbitration contracts next year (deep breath: Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood, Juan Nicasio, Stubbs, Rex Brothers, Jordan Lyles, Adam Ottavino, Wilin Rosario, hopefully not Wilton Lopez).
All of that adds up to an expensive losing team next year ($10-15 million more than this year is my estimate with those same players) with most if not all of the same problems that are apparent in this year's team. Looping back to the conclusion of my article from last year:
I'm a patient, reasonable guy who gets that success won't all come at once to a team in Colorado's situation. I'm willing and able to see the big picture and understand the constraints the Rockies face with respect to altitude and the free agent market. The problem with the Rockies is that I'm not sure how the current big picture I'm seeing gets the Rockies from a 75 win team into the playoffs and back to the World Series.
Lower that 75 win total projection, add some pitching injuries that will affect 2015, make everything a little more expensive, and you've got Colorado at the 2014 MLB trade deadline. Sure, the Rockies have the promise of two elite pitching prospects on the way in Eddie Butler and Jon Gray, but I don't believe they are the panacea that will take Colorado to the promised land. It's hard to be optimistic about a team that operates this way, hoping for everything to break its way and ignoring common sense at every turn.