Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports report that the Rockies are "dangling" Charlie Blackmon as a trade piece and targeting a starting pitcher in return. That in itself is notable, but the impetus to dangle, not just the dangling, is also newsworthy. "Part of the Rockies’ motivation to trade Blackmon," Morosi and Rosenthal write, "is that his value is at an all-time high right now" and that "Rockies officials believe they can . . . replace Blackmon with a free-agent outfielder."
In other words, the Rockies are, currently, trying to use their team depth to turn an above-average season by an average outfielder—but one who is still relatively young, who is inexpensive, and who is under team control through 2018—into a starting pitcher, which would compensate for a weakness. That sounds good to me. In fact, such a move would satisfy a major critique against the team, especially after a season when the front office did not move Drew Stubbs or LaTroy Hawkins while they were at peak value.
Morosi and Rosenthal indicate that the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, and Texas Rangers are possible destinations because each team lacks outfield bats. Potential returns aren’t mentioned, but someone like Mike Minor is a possibility. Minor’s situation is the opposite of Blackmon’s. He’s a year removed from posting a 3.21 ERA and an 87 ERA- in over 200 innings, but he might have decreased value due to a rough 2014 when he put up a 4.77 ERA and 131 ERA-.
As far as replacing Blackmon, Morosi and Rosenthal mention Colby Rasmus as a possibility. The left-handed 28-year-old Rasmus would fit perfectly as a platoon partner with Stubbs, who has trouble with right-handed pitching. For his career, Rasmus has a 112 wRC+ against righties. He has some pop in his bat, too, as he’s hit 18, 22, and 23 home runs over the past three seasons. Eduardo Encina reported on Twitter that Rasmus is seeking a one-year deal worth about $7 million. A contract like that would be a steal for the Rockies, and Coors Field would be an ideal place for Rasmus to regain some free agent value. Adding a hefty team option might also be a smart move, as David Dahl is still a couple of years away from having the chance to win big league playing time.
All in all, if this turns out to not just be false dangling, and if the Rockies can manage to trade Blackmon for a starting pitcher who can slot in to the rotation immediately, and then turn around and sign Rasmus to serve as a platoon mate for Stubbs, then we just might have to offer a bunch of praise to the front office. They’ll have earned it.