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There are trades the Rockies need to make

Colorado Rockies news and links for Thursday, July 28th, 2022

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It seems like we do this every season. The Colorado Rockies hit the trade deadline and either do very little, or do the opposite of what needs to be done. In 2020 with a losing record and little chance at a postseason push, the Rockies traded top prospects Terrin Vavra and Tyler Nevin to the Baltimore Orioles for RHP Mychal Givens. Both Nevin and Vavra are now on the Orioles’ big league roster. The following season the only move the Rockies made was trading Givens to Cincinnati in exchange for RHPs Noah Davis and Case Williams. When it was obvious Trevor Story would not be returning, the Rockies held onto him for the compensatory pick instead of making a deal. Jon Gray was also not set in stone to return, and holding onto him only led to more heartbreak as he left for the Texas Rangers.

Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt has already shot down the idea of being big sellers at the deadline.

“No,” Schmidt said when asked if they expect to be big sellers at the deadline. “We’ll see what happens.”

He also balked at the idea that the Rockies are in need of a rebuild.

“I believe in these guys. We realize some of our young guys are coming and are going to eventually help us. We have some guys here who are going to be with us going forward. People want us to trade guys, but the people they want us to trade are the guys that want to stay here.”

It’s great that players say they want to be in Colorado, but Jon Gray is just the most recent in a long list of players who have made that claim only to depart shortly after. The Rockies also do ineed have young guys coming up that are “eventually going to help us.” The issue there is that some of these young guys are already here... and there’s no space for them on a logjammed roster.

If Dick Monfort and Bill Schmidt refuse to rebuild, I will begrudgingly accept that because I know their minds cannot be changed. However, refusing to rebuild does not mean refusing to make necessary trades to stock the farm and clear roster space when the team extremely unlikely to be playoff bound this season—especially when so many players are on one-year deals. You don’t have to trade everyone. Even though trading them might be the best move, CJ Cron and Daniel Bard are likely to stay. Cron is the Rockies’ best hitter and is under contract for at least one more season, while a possible extension for the 37-year old Bard has been rumored. Even if you keep Cron and Bard, there are multiple trades the Rockies would be foolish to not pursue before the August 2nd deadline passes.

Shortstop José Iglesias is one of the best road hitters in baseball right now. Slashing .353/.386/.447 so far away from Coors Field, he has the second best average in the league when it comes to road games. His .302 batting average is also top 15 in the league. Obviously those are both very good things... but Iglesias is also on a one year deal and will be 33-years old next season. As good as his hitting has been, Iglesias is not the future of this team at shortstop. Failing to trade him at the deadline would block one of the Rockies top prospects in Ezequiel Tovar (no. 6 PuRP) from a potential late season callup. Keeping Iglesias next season to block your top shortstop prospect and one of the league’s best shortstop prospects from playing is nonsensical. We’ve already dealt with the frustration of Elehuris Montero receiving almost no playing time after being called up. Why repeat that with Tovar? It doesn’t help that the Rockies have an embarrassment of riches at shortstop, with Coco Montes tearing it up in Triple-A Albuquerque and Adael Amador turning heads with Low-A Fresno.

Right-handed pitchers Chad Kuhl and José Ureña should also be dealt as buy-low-sell-high options. Although Chad Kuhl’s trade value might have declined due to a difficult July, teams with rotation needs might be interested in the services of a man who held a 3.49 ERA through the first three months of the season. For Ureña—whom the Rockies brought in on a minor league deal earlier in the season—it’s a chance to get a return on a minimal investment. Ureña has proven he still has gas in the tank over four strong starts, including three straight quality starts and giving up just two earned runs at Coors Field in two starts.

Kuhl will be 30 next season and Ureña will be 31, and while there is interest from the front office in keeping them around the Rockies are also risking a logjam with young pitchers. Ryan Feltner (no. 15 PuRP) will be gunning for a rotation spot, as will Ryan Rolison (no. 4 PuRP) and Peter Lambert if they can get healthy. Karl Kauffmann (no. 20 PuRP) has also hit Triple-A and could potentially break camp with the big league club next year. If Germán Márquez, Antonio Senzatela, and Kyle Freeland are all locked up for the immediate future, and Austin Gomber is under team control until 2026, the space for the young starters has to come from somewhere.

Right-handed reliever Alex Colomé has been strong out of the bullpen for the Rockies. With an ERA of 3.29 in 38 13 innings, the seasoned bullpen pitcher has been a reliable presence in late innings work. Colomé is also going to be 34-years old next season and is on a one year deal. Relievers are always a hot commodity at the trade deadline and the Rockies should be able to net a solid return from a contending team.

The Rockies have assets to sell, doing so doesn’t necessarily mean they would begin the “rebuild” dreaded by the front office and ownership. It would mean making smart transactions to either clear roster space for prospects, to capitalize on short term investments, or both. The deadline is in less than a week, and Bill Schmidt needs to prove he’s willing to pull the trigger and not repeat the sins of previous administrations.

★ ★ ★

Making MLB trade deadline predictions for all 30 teams | The Athletic ($)

Rockies writer Nick Groke chimes in on The Athletic’s MLB trade deadline predictions for each team. He predicts the Rockies will do... nothing. Despite usually having assets to deal in losing seasons, the Rockies front office is notoriously passive at the deadline.

“Ruminating about what the Rockies should do at the deadline is pointless. They exist in a bubble of their own design and “should” is an irrelevant notion. What they will do is something else entirely.”

★ ★ ★

On The Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 15, Las Vegas Aviators 9

The Isotopes scored 15 runs on 16 hits in another strong offensive showing. Six Isotopes batters had multi-hit games. Wynton Bernard continues to shout into the universe that he deserves a big league debut. Yesterday he went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, and two RsBI. Tim Lopes also had three hits. Coco Montes, Elehuris Montero, and Sean Bouchard all hit home runs, but Bouchard’s was the star of the show: a grand slam in the fifth inning. Bouchard busting out the salami represents Albuquerque’s new team record: ten grand slams in a season. It’s also the third in three straight games, with Coco Montes and Wynton Bernard hitting the previous two.

Double-A: Portland Sea Dogs 9, Hartford Yard Goats 4

It was a tough day for the Yard Goats pitching staff. Mitchell Kilkenny lasted just 2 23 innings as the starter, giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks. He did strike out four batters. Trent Fennell took over for Kilkenny in the third and struggled with command. Fennell only gave up one hit but walked five batters over 1 23 and got dinged for another two runs. Will Gaddis gave up another three runs on three hits—including a home run—over 1 23 innings. Jared Biddy and Dugan Darnell both pitched well, however. Biddy worked for two complete innings and struck out four batters, while Darnell struck out two in the final frame of the game. Daniel Montaño had a 2-for-5 game with two RsBI while hitting his eighth home run since moving to Double-A. Willie MacIver was 2-for-4 with a double.

High-A: Spokane Indians 5, Tri-City Dust Devils 2

Joe Rock struggled with his command in four innings of work as the starter. He issued six walks and gave up two earned runs. The bullpen completely locked things down in relief of Rock. Anderson Pilar is credited with the win after two shutout frames. Blake Goldsberry and Anderson Bido each held things down with an inning of scoreless work. Tyler Ahearn earned his second save since being promoted to High-A Spokane. Bladimir Restituyo, Zac Veen, and Julio Carreras were all 2-for-4, while Warming Bernabel went 3-for-4 with two RsBI.

Low-A: Modesto Nuts 10, Fresno Grizzlies 9

It’s difficult for any team to win a game when they commit a whopping six errors, but the Fresno offense kept things close. Adael Amador kicked off the game with a first pitch leadoff home run in the first inning. He also hit a double in a 2-for-4 night with two RsBI. Juan Brito had an incredibly productive evening, going 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, a triple, and two RsBI of his own. AJ Lewis played his first reps at third base with Fresno and struggled defensively. Three of the Grizzlies’ six errors were credited to him. He tried to make up for it by going 2-for-4 with a three run home run, but the Grizzlies still fell short. Starting pitcher Brayan Castillo wasn’t sharp, giving up eight runs on nine hits over four innings... but only four of those eight runs were earned due to errors. Luis Amoroso pitched two scoreless frames, but Felix Ramirez and Sergio Sanchez both gave up runs, with Sanchez getting dinged with the loss as the Nuts walked it off in the bottom of the ninth.

★ ★ ★

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