A follow-up to the December 19th Rockpile: “The case for retaining Germán Márquez—at all costs”
A poll on the Monday article “Welcome to the NL West, Blake Snell and Yu Darvish” revealed 90 percent of voters are in favor of the Rockies entering a rebuild. 79 percent of voters were in favor of a rebuild prior to San Diego trading for those two starters, so it isn’t a ‘new’ idea. The Rockies opting for a full reconstruct would put Márquez on the trading block, and the framework has been set from what the Rays yielded for Snell.
How much can you ‘rebuild’ if you retain one of the premier contracts on the team?
Maybe Jeff Bridich has tried to shop Márquez. Any conversation gets diminished in the public eye because each Rockies trade headline seems to be about Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. We can’t expect an entirely accurate read, particularly when trade talks can be so inconclusive anyways.
Maybe a deal for Márquez isn’t being pursued at all, however, as the current landscape isn’t full of teams spending like the Padres. The Phillies are repeatedly facing seismic levels of debt after 2020. Similar losses may push Francisco Lindor out of Cleveland. Every team feels the effects of no ballpark revenue in 2020, and a team acquiring Márquez’s contract could be less of a necessity and more of a luxury.
The Rockies saved around $2.7 million on David Dahl. Márquez is projected to make over $30 million in the next three years. Not only would a trade alleviate that spending, but it could also bring an inexpensive return with years of club controlled prospects.
Colorado needs help in the minors, as several ranking sources will point out. Trading a legit starter for a few minor league scratch tickets can be dangerous, but so is watching the clock tick on a good contract while the Dodgers and Padres take baseball by storm. If the Rockies can bring in multiple pre-arbitration pitchers, they can ensure some highly touted arms will remain on the roster for several years—and for little cash—if they pan out as desired.
The strategy bears striking resemblance to what Tampa Bay seems to be doing. This can pay dividends in a place like Denver where a free agent pitcher has elevated reason to look away from Coors Field and toward a pitcher-friendly park. Rather than depending heavily on draftees like Jon Gray and Kyle Freeland, a second avenue exists for the Rockies to retain pitchers. It requires the unfortunate departure of a key player, but it bolsters the developmental ranks in key, inexpensive ways.
Márquez remains under club control through at least 2023, which is great news for all the reasons mentioned in the 12/19 Rockpile. A partial rebuild is possible with Márquez in purple pinstripes, although it wouldn’t be a full reset. His workload could cover for a struggling bullpen and his consistency can benefit everyone around him. Márquez can fulfill a need for solace every fifth day when lineups are announced.
Lest we forget, however, that Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland had a higher bWAR than Márquez in 2020. If the Rockies drag their feet on a rebuild through Márquez’s contract, a return may only get smaller.
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“Colorado Rockies: If He Stays, Nolan Arenado Is a Major Bounce-Back Candidate”
No matter how gray the Rockies’ skies may be, at least the current roster has loads of talent that is fun to watch. Any game with Arenado, Story and Márquez is a good source of excitement; that alone is reason for fans to lament sending them away.
Our friends at Rox Pile further discuss the implications of San Diego stacking their deck. Noah Yingling writes on how much the Padres gave for Snell and Darvish: “With those two acquisitions, the Padres only had to sacrifice one of their five prospects that were in MLB.com’s top 100 prospects.”
Many still view Tampa Bay’s return as impressive, as did Jeff Passan in a tweet on Sunday. “Early reviews: Rays did very well on the return headed by [Luis] Patiño.” Only time will tell how highly ‘ranked’ these prospects truly are in the big leagues.
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