In the words of Tom Petty, “the waiting is the hardest part.”
As a non-playoff contender, as the Rockies are, the trade deadline can be a stress-inducing period of losing stars and favorite players, but at least it comes with the hope of building towards a better future.
We only have until 2 p.m. MT on Friday before the wait will be over, but it’s not the trade deadline wait that I am worried about. It’s the waiting for this organization to build a front office with baseball knowledge and a plan to win that I’m worried about.
Right now, this wait has no foreseeable end. The desire to build a savvy and creative team with new voices and new approaches is, in the best-case scenario, at least months away when the team's search for a new GM begins. Worst case scenario, the Rockies stay in-house, stay the course, and stay out of the playoff picture in perpetuity. Meanwhile, the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres, one of which seems likely to win the Max Scherzer sweepstakes, will dominate all of the organization-improving action and handle all the winning.
Outside of not engineering their own plans and deals for players who will become free agents at the end of the season like Trevor Story and Jon Gray with goals of acquiring players and prospects that fit a greater rebuilding plan, the Rockies have instead seemed to opt to sit back and wait for people to approach them. (Disclaimer: I am writing this Thursday evening and things could change, but it still seems hard to imagine that the Rockies will push for a certain kind of return without the existence of a master plan to guide them.) Instead of designing a steady blueprint to follow, the Rockies have opted to let other teams build that plan for them. It hardly seems worth mentioning that other teams don’t have the Rockies’ best interest at heart, and, therefore, this should not be the recipe for winning.
Seemingly out of their depth in knowhow in running an MLB team, the Rockies appear to be reaching back to a familiar bag of tricks: go with what you know. Numerous examples of this exist in the past: re-sign old veterans and give them more playing time than younger players, even in non-winning years when development could be prioritized. This season, upon learning Kyle Freeland would start the year on the IL, the Rockies signed Jhoulys Chacín. Bullpen additions of Zac Rosscup and Jesus Tinoco also fit this mold.
With two starting pitchers currently on the IL due to COVID protocols in Antonio Senzatela and Chi Chi González, the Rockies need pitches. So, they decided to approach the Cincinnati Reds to reacquire Ashton Goudeau. Goudeau, who’s spent nearly 10 years in professional baseball and has a 5.71 ERA in 17 1/3 innings of work over nine appearances to show for it, now begins his third stint with the Rockies, who have DFA’ed him twice. Clearly, the Rockies motto is “better the pitcher you know than the one you don’t.” Even if they know that pitcher may not be very good.
If this is the theory, it probably applies to position players too, which means we should keep an eye out for a resigning of former Rockie Mike Tauchman, who was cut by the Giants on Thursday.
This resign-former-Rockies approach was also a big part of the Mychal Givens trade on Wednesday when Colorado sent away its most consistent bullpen arm in order to get Noah Davis and Case Williams, a former Rockie who apparently errantly was traded away by Jeff Bridich in the Jeff Hoffmann trade with the Reds. When the Rockies got Givens in 2020, they sent their No. 7 and No. 12 prospects, Terrin Vavra and Tyler Nevin to the Orioles. When they traded Givens to the Reds on Wednesday, they got two pitchers not ranked in the Reds top-20 prospect list.
The Athletic’s Nick Groke bluntly says it the best:
“Wednesday’s trade did not unfurl alone. It exists as a part of a string that started in August. And within 10 months, the Rockies gave away Nevin and Vavra, two ranked prospects, for Davis. Their mistake wasn’t Wednesday’s trade, it was trading for Givens in the first place. They outbid other actual playoff contenders to gain the services of a late-inning reliever they didn’t need.”
The trade deadline will soon pass, but will the wait for the Rockies to change end?
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Ashton Goudeau has been with six different teams since the end of 2020 and he’s been with the Rockies twice. Maybe this time will be different?
Noah Yingling also believes Goudeau could get some starts for the Rockies. He’s never made a start in MLB action, but five of his eight appearances this season for Cincinnati’s Triple-A squad were starts. This season, in 31 innings, he’s 3-1 with a 4.65 ERA and 1.387 WHIP. Yingling could be correct as the Rockies announced on Thursday that they activated Goudeau and recalled José Mujica. To make space, in a pretty surprising move, the Rockies sent Joshua Fuentes back down to Triple-A, along with Jesus Tinoco.
According to Kevin Henry, the keys are trading Story to anyone but the Padres, Giants, or Dodgers, trade C.J. Cron, who could add power to contending teams, and don’t trade Jon Gray. Henry hopes the Rockies could build around him and talk him into signing an extension. I would be pretty happy with this outcome, but also very surprised by it.
Since there are a lot of injuries and statuses to keep up with, here is a breakdown:
• Jhoulys Chacín is now on the active roster (July 28)
• C.J. Cron is out with right groin discomfort suffered on July 27 and he is day-to-day.
• Yency Almonte, Antonio Senzatela, and Yonathan Daza are all working their way back to action after being benched by COVID protocols on July 16. They are all training in Arizona. Senzatela will make a Minor League rehab start on Saturday.
• Robert Stephenson, who’s been out since June 28 with an upper back strain, has completed two bullpen sessions and he could face hitters in practice later this week.
• Peter Lambert is making great progress in recovering from Tommy John surgery. He faced hitters in a simulated game for the second time on Tuesday. He’s expected back “sometime in 2021.”
On the farm
Despite being down 8-0 after two and a half innings, the Isotopes rallied back for a win where they totaled 20 hits. Taylor Motter hit two homers and a double in a six RBI night where he also scored four runs. Greg Bird went 4-for-5 with one run scored and Ryan Vilade also added three hits. After four Albuquerque pitchers gave up 11 runs through seven innings, Logan Cozart pitched a scoreless eighth and Justin Lawrence held the Bees at bay in the ninth to earn the save.
With the game tied at 5-5 with two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Yard Goats had a great opportunity. Elehrus Montero made sure to cash in on that chance by hitting a walk-off single to score Jameson Hannah. The hit topped off a 3-for-5 night for Montero that included a two-run homer, a total of three RBI, and one run scored. Hannah added two hits and Casey Golden added two hits, three RBI, and one run scored.
Daniel Montano hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Jake Blomgren to help Spokane win in exciting fashion on Thursday night. The clutch hitting capped off an impressive comeback that was many innings in the making.
Spokane’s Michael Toglia hit a three-run homer in the first inning (his 15th on the season, which leads the league) and Isaac Collins hit an RBI single in the second to help put the Indians up 3-0 after two innings. But then the Canadians exploded for seven runs in the third inning when Spokane starter Trent Fennell gave up seven hits and a walk. This set the stage for Spokane to start a slow comeback of its own, all while Vancouver continued to add to its lead as well. Collins hit a two-run double in the sixth and Montano’s two-run single in the eighth to tie the game at 10-all in the eighth. In the ninth, Blomgren reached on a one-out walk and was able to move to second after an errant pickoff attempt. Collins came up huge again with a single to move Blomgren to third and Montano came to the plate fort he walk-off.
Collins, in the leadoff spot, finished the night going 5-for-6 with two doubles and three RBI, while Montano totaled three hits and three RBI.
Despite a late one-inning rally in the bottom of the ninth from Lake Elsinore, Fresno hung on to win on Thursday night. Fresno jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Ezequiel Tovar hit an RBI double and then Tovar scored after stealing third and advancing home on a throwing error. Joe Aeilts hit an RBI single in the fourth that ended up being the difference in the game. Blair Calvo earned the win in relief after pitching three scoreless innings (fifth through seventh).
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