Heading into the All-Star break, the Rockies find themselves in the thick of competition for both a Wild Card berth and a division title. The trade deadline is fast approaching, which means teams are deciding whether they’ll be sellers and begin planning for 2019, or if they’ll be buyers and bolster their rosters for a chance at playing in the Postseason. According to Nick Groke of The Athletic, Bud Black already has a good idea of who the Rockies want to target in their quest to be kings of the NL West.
Hey, have you ever heard this one? It’ll be like we made a trade,” Black said. “We got Dahl! Have you ever heard that one before? When a player comes back it’s like, ‘We made a trade!’
This is a perplexing quote that will either get you excited or drive you mad. On the one hand, he’s right. The Rockies will gain a great player when Dahl returns to the lineup. Bud says so himself, admitting, “He’s a talented player. We hope he contributes because he has a skillset that can help us win.” Well, Bud, that’s on you—we’d all love to see him in the lineup more often with that smile that can slay a dragon.
And on the other hand, you really hope that Black isn’t serious about Dahl being their trade deadline target. He’s clearly—I think—making a joke, but if the Rockies want to make a serious run at a title, they should strongly consider making some serious offers to add more depth and talent to this team that has a chance to make franchise history.
Some more trade deadline musings out of Rox Pile have me wondering—what is the future at second base for the Rockies? While many rightfully believe it is Brendan Rodgers, I’m starting to see another perspective in which the future is now, so to speak.
Many believe DJ is a great trade chip as the deadline approaches, or the Rockies will let him walk in free agency after this season. Rodgers continues to tear up minor league pitching (a .270/.333/.508 slashline with a .238 ISO, 17 HR, and 58 RBI going into Saturday) and will likely join the Rockies in September when rosters expand. It seems like a natural progression for Brendan to take over the starting 2B mantle in 2019.
However, DJ is only 30 years old as of Friday and still handling the position at a high level, including being in line to earn his 3rd Gold Glove. The Rockies could sign DJ to a three or four year deal and have an even more highly coveted trade chip in Brendan Rodgers—a prospect that could help net them a pitcher like deGrom or Syndergaard. It would also clear the way for another highly regarded prospect in Garrett Hampson to join the major league club and provide depth while not sacrificing talent for the future.
It would be painful to see such an enormous talent like Rodgers be traded, but the Rockies might actually be able to set themselves up for great success now and down the road if they consider trading him in a package for an elite pitcher and hold onto DJ instead.
I feel the need—the need for speed!
The Rockies’ minor league system is emphasizing an aggressive mentality on the basepaths, and the results are showing up positively for the team’s affiliates—and the big league club, too. As of Friday, the Rockies had successfully stolen 49 bases this year. For comparison, in 2017, the team totaled just 59 bags over the entire course of the season. A speed-centric philosophy has been working out, and it has deep roots in our minor league coaching.
“Stolen bases? It’s one of my favorite things,” Double-A Hartford manager Warren Schaeffer told MiLB.com’s Gerard Gilberto. There’s no doubt about that, as Hartford leads the Eastern League in both attempts (152) and successful steals (112)—similarly, Lancaster leads the Cal League (108) and Asheville is a close second (96) in the South Atlantic League.
Some names you expect to see atop the leaderboard for the Rockies’ affiliates, such as Garrett Hampson, Sam Hilliard, and Forrest Wall. But the aggressive mentality is even spreading unconventionally to sluggers like Chad Spanberger, who has 16 SB for the Tourists, and Ryan Vilade, who has swiped 10 for the JetHawks. The Rockies believe speed doesn’t have to be a natural part of everyone’s game in order to cause disruption and chaos for opposing defenses, and it’s a philosophy that’s paying dividends and winning games.
Lastly, Rox Pile examines the Rockies starting pitching rotation and how it might play out after the All-Star Break. The only no-brainer is luckily the number one spot, which belongs to Kyle Freeland. He has had an amazing season thus far, and deserves recognition as the club’s best option to start the second-half of the season on a winning note.
From there it gets hazy, with Tyler Anderson and Germán Márquez battling over the #2 designation, and Jon Gray looming in the shadows, hungry to prove his detractors wrong. Chad Bettis and Antonio Senzatela round it out, vying for that 5th starter role, but it could all change in the blink of an eye if the Rockies decide to add a veteran or high-profile impact pitcher before the deadline.
What do you think, Rockies fans? What does your starting five look like to begin the second-half of the season?