The Colorado Rockies did not make any major trades at the 2019 trade deadline. It was a different climate this year since there are no trades of any kind after the July 31st deadline. It was also different because a lot of teams were caught in-between when it came to those buyer and seller distinctions.
There were probably some options for Jeff Bridich to shake things up, but in the end the Rockies mostly stood pat. Now what?
Their bullpen is going to look awfully similar next season
Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw seemed the most likely candidates to move. The remaining year on their respective contracts in 2020 could have been considered a feature or a bug: an extra year of control (yay!) or an overpay for a reliever (boo!).
They both stayed, and you better believe the Rockies will keep trying to get them on track along with closer Wade Davis. Looks like that well-paid bullpen trio will be back together again next season. Speaking of the bullpen, another reliever stayed put.
They need Scott Oberg to stay good
He’s cheap and he’s under team control for a while. He’s their only good reliever, and this season he has been better than good. It makes sense that many people are happy the Rockies kept Oberg to continue as a key member of the bullpen moving forward.
It’s for those same reasons (cheap, years of team control and very good), however, that the Rockies could have gotten peak value for Oberg at a deadline where a number of teams needed bullpen help. They passed on that opportunity, and that might be the right decision, but if Oberg falls back to earth like so many relievers before him, it might end up being a missed opportunity.
Their farm system could still use a boost
As noted by Jeff Aberle in the intro to the most recent round of PuRPs voting, it feels like the Rockies farm system has taken a step back this season. That could have changed at the deadline, but now it’s in the same place.
We should be realistic about the fact that the Rockies were never going to bring in some haul of heralded prospects, because they were never going to do something like trade Charlie Blackmon despite those “rumors” that hung around this month. But the Rockies could have at least made some marginal additions, and that didn’t happen.
On the flip side, you can argue that the farm system being in the same place as before the deadline is a positive. It’s a positive because it means they didn’t trade off the prospects they do have in a hasty “buyer” move. I wouldn’t mind if the Rockies would hoard prospects less and look to be more creative in trades, but I understand their reluctance to do so.
The outfield is still crowded
No rumors ever really crystallized in terms of moves with the Rockies’ outfielders. The Blackmon rumors were the daydreams of beat writers and the Desmond suggestions were the daydreams of Rockies fans. So it is that they continue onward with the same crowded situation.
It does look like the Rockies have acknowledged Desmond’s defensive issues in the outfield. And so the challenge continues as they try to figure out what to do with him, although he is probably poised to make his most consistent positive contributions as a part-time corner outfielder. As ever, it’s not clear what that means for younger outfielders, specifically Raimel Tapia in this case.
The pressure is on the young starting pitchers
The possibility of the Rockies trading for a starting pitcher probably faded right along with the team’s record in July, but it’s still worth noting what it means for the rotation. They need that group to be much better next season, and that leaves the rest of this season to make some improvements and try to get back on track.
With no trade to add a starter, they’ll likely look to the same group of starters to turn things around next season, or at least a very similar one. That is, unless, they think about shaking things up this offseason.
They can be creative in the offseason
They likely won’t be moving any of those relievers. McGee and Shaw felt like classic deadline targets but probably won’t be as attractive in winter negotiations. But if the Rockies want to try to move certain position players — possibly a veteran like Daniel Murphy or younger guys like Brendan Rodgers or Ryan McMahon — they might be able to shake things up and bolster their rotation.
That would go against the typical approach we’ve seen from the Rockies. It seems more likely that they will enter next season with almost the exact same team. That’s not necessarily bad. It might even work out. But like the team’s predictable inactivity at the trade deadline, that might feel frustrating for a team that is suddenly so disappointing.