Trade deadline action is already in full swing. Nelson Cruz is a Ray. Adam Frazier is a Padre. The stove is hot and the pressure is on for contenders to buy and the sellers to sell high. Personally, it’s my favorite time of the baseball year. It’s a chance for all clubs to make quick progress in their respective directions.
The Rockies have a chance to do just that at this year’s trade deadline. Colorado has four meaningful contributors on expiring deals (Trevor Story, Jon Gray, Mychal Givens, C.J. Cron). That’s four opportunities to flip into, at worst, farm system depth as opposed to having them walk away for nothing in return in the fall.
But despite the sense it might make, will the Rockies actually take it that far? Do all the rumors and hot takes have any meat to them? What should we expect to happen this week? Well there’s a few things we can and can’t expect...
Don’t expect: A fire sale. The Rockies are not A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres who are either aggressively all in or all out. The Rockies are kind of the opposite, they’re comfortable selling out Coors Field while not committing to either contending or rebuilding. They’re not known for their activity at the deadline. We know Jeff Bridich wasn’t huge on overturning a roster midseason. In fact, since Dick Monfort took control of the club in 2011, the team has only made more than one trade at or near the deadline three times. The last time the team sold at the deadline was ironically Story’s predecessor at shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki in 2015.
Expect: At least one move. So this kind of ties back to the above point, the Rockies have never shown to mind being in limbo. Like I said, this would suggest they wouldn’t go all in on a selling spree but it’s easy to see them go kind of halfway and make at least one move. This could be a big Trevor Story deal, a midsize deal that moves a C.J. Cron or Mychal Givens, or just a quiet move between the Rockies and some team exchanging players on the back ends of their 40-man rosters. A move just to prove to the public that they are doing something, just not everything we’d like them to. History supports this as the Rockies have made at least one deadline deal in eight of the last ten seasons. These moves have ranged from trading franchise icon Troy Tulowizki to the Blue Jays in 2015 to swapping Alfredo Garcia for Joe Harvey in 2019.
Expect: The move(s) made to include players in the upper minor leagues or for major leaguers with plenty of team control left. The Rockies have put a lot of time and energy into building their best 1-5 rotation in a long time. It’s the strongest part of the team and something the organization has clearly prided itself on. With Arenado gone and Story soon to be (either now or in the fall), the organizational focus could shift to the rotation. Not that they will need to remake it but that they will now clearly drive the organization’s timeline. The Rockies will have to do two things; get them to stay when their contracts run up in the general 2023-24 time frame and then pay each one of them. If the players all want a chance to contend, the Rockies will have to quickly regrow the offensive side, fill holes and polish the long term pieces they already have (Rodgers, McMahon, Tapia).
The irony is that now as the starters seem to be entering their primes, the offensive stars are leaving. The last crop of offensive and defensive firepower in Story, Nolan Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu is about to be completely gone and even Charlie Blackmon is entering the final stretch of his career. The patience, contracts and windows of these guys just didn’t sync up.
Don’t expect: Germán Márquez to be even be considered for a trade. No matter what rumor you come across and who is putting it out there, Márquez WILL NOT BE GOING ANYWHERE. Bud Black has said it, Bill Schmidt has said it, it’s just not happening. He’s the pride and joy of the entire organization, the model and proof of successful pitching at Coors Field, only 26 years old and on a great contract that has three more years on it. Unless you see an official press release from the Rockies saying they moved him, don’t give it the time of day.
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I would like to start this off by saying that this title doesn’t make any sense, it’s impossible to fill a black hole. It catches and consumes everything in its vicinity very much unlike the first basemen the Rockies have employed in recent history. Anyways, Michael Toglia and the Rockies hope he can one day be that steady first baseman that the Rockies have lacked since Todd Helton retired in 2013. Right now, Toglia’s slashing .238/.338/.437 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs at High-A Spokane. He got Rockies fans very excited when he homered in the Futures Game at Coors Field two weeks ago.
Thomas Harding analyzes what Cron could bring to a contender if the Rockies were to move him at the deadline. He also compares Cron’s situation to that of Jon Gray’s and how he could possibly be more likelier to be traded. Ultimately, Harding points out, it comes down to how much the Rockies value veteran experience and whether they’re willing to create a hole at first base.
On the farm
Down south, the Isotopes scrapped out a win on Sunday on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth. Taylor Snyder leadoff the ninth with a pinch-hit single and then stole second and third base on separate pitches to put himself in position to take advantage of a wild pitch. It’s a gutsy win considering the Isotopes allowed 16 total hits. Greg Bird hit his 12th home run of the year and Taylor Motter hit his 20th. Motter has been on an absolute tear this month slashing .390/.514/1.017 in the month of July.
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 13, Bowie Baysox 6
On the east coast, the Yard Goats exploded for 13 runs on 18 hits including four home runs. Elehuris Montero had two of them on an overall 3-for-4 day with four RBIs. Montero is slashing a lights out .420/.488/.826 with nine home runs this month. Coco Montes had the other two home runs as part of his 2-for-5 day with three RBIs. Jameson Hannah had his own impressive day without the long ball going 4-for-6 with a pair of RBIs.
In the northwest, Spokane fell behind in the seventh and could not mount a late inning rally. Kyle Datres hit a home run and a triple as part of his 2-for-4 game with three RBIs. Brenton Doyle went 2-for-4 and Jack Blomgren went 1-for-3 with two walks. Blomgren, a shortstop and fifth round pick out of Michigan last year, is only hitting .217 on the year but has gotten his OBP all the way up to .369.
In sunny but really hot California, the Grizzlies tied a season high in runs allowed in a losing effort to the Nuts. Fresno’s pitching staff gave up 18 hits and eight walks. Ouch. Joe Aeilts went 3-for-4 including a three run blast in the second inning. Newcomer Ronaiker Palma, a catcher, went 2-for-4. Since arriving from the Arizona Complex League on July 17th, Palma is 5-for-15 with three RBIs.
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