On Monday morning, an article that was 1,172 days old was the third most popular post on Purple Row. The headline: “The Corey Dickerson trade shows just how out of touch the Rockies are with reality.” Why was this article trending? Perhaps it’s because of events that had transpired less than 24 hours earlier.
When the Rockies finished the 2015 season, they were in a bit of a rut. They had just finished in last place for the third time in four seasons and hadn’t garnered more than 74 wins in six years. They signed Gerardo Parra to a three-year deal, making an already crowded outfield moreso. That’s when the rumor mill started turning.
On January 26, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Rays and Rockies were working on a deal to exchange Corey Dickerson and Jake McGee. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs called it “The Most Confusing Rumor of the Offseason.” When the trade was consummated three days later, he had this to say:
For the Rockies, their best hope is that McGee comes back at 100 percent, dominates the first few months of the season, and they can flip him at the trade deadline when prices for relievers are often exorbitant. The idea that they’re likely to contend during the next two years is far-fetched, so the organization really should be building for the future. If McGee stays healthy and Dickerson doesn’t, then this will probably work out just fine for them, but that’s basically the bet they’re making. Things could easily go the other way, with the Rockies flushing a perfectly useful player down the drain for no real reason, and if both players stay healthy, the Rays almost certainly win the deal as well.
But I guess, at this point, weird is what we should expect from Colorado.
Cameron was far from alone in this analysis. Mike Axisa listed “Three reasons the Dickerson trade is another Rockies head-scratcher.” In Ryan Romano’s Beyond the Box Score article, “Rays trade for Corey Dickerson, Rockies get a disappointing return,” he said:
In the end, the stereotypes of the two teams probably won’t change. As the Rays return to respectability in 2016 and beyond, they will benefit from Dickerson’s production, while the Rockies will languish at the bottom of the NL West in spite of their elite reliever. Simply undoing this move wouldn’t make Colorado notable or Tampa mediocre — the overall quality of the organizations would stay the same regardless — but it does put a bit more distance between the two, both on the field and in the minds of fans.
At least Cameron and Axisa mentioned the minor leaguers being exchanged in the deal, an A-ball “lottery ticket” starting pitcher to the Rockies and a “potential future star” to the Rays. Axisa said, “It’s entirely possible Márquez will one day develop into a great prospect. That happens from time to time. It seems unlikely though. He’s not someone who swings the pendulum in Colorado’s favor. McGee is the headliner in the trade. No doubt.” Romano didn’t mention the minor leaguers at all.
Of course, just three months into his debut season in the Rockies system, Márquez was showing signs that the infamous trade would one day be recognized as The German Marquez Trade.
In two years with the Rays before being DFA’d (and picked up by the Pirates), Dickerson produced 3.7 fWAR. In two years before being resigned by the Rockies in free agency, Jake McGee produced 1.3 fWAR. Kevin Padlo has 19 plate appearances above A-ball.
Through four seasons and 405 2⁄3 career innings with the Rockies, Márquez has produced 7.7 fWAR and recently signed a five year, $43 million extension to stay with the Rockies through at least 2023. On Sunday, he pitched the second best game in Rockies history, according to game score, right behind Jon Gray’s 16-strikeout performance in September 2016.
Let me be clear: my intent is not to dunk on anybody. Hindsight is always 20/20 and when you write about sports, and especially baseball, you’re bound to be wrong every once in a while (which is why the most bold prediction I’ve ever made is that the Rockies might make the playoffs in three years ). In 2016 it was reasonable to assume that Márquez was equivalent to Padlo in the trade. In 2019, he’s looking like one of the best pitchers, not only in the history franchise, but in the National League, and now has the only complete game 1-hit shutout in Rockies history.
Instead, let’s all marvel about how little we know about baseball, or the future in general, and bask in the glory that we’ll have Márquez for the foreseeable future.