A few weeks ago, I took a look at a couple of bullpen trade assets for the Colorado Rockies that could require a decision as the August 1 trade deadline draws ever closer. The Rockies recently made a trade to send Mike Moustakas to the Los Angeles Angels, perhaps paving the way for some more movement of other veteran position players on expiring contracts.
When the Rockies signed Jurickson Profar to a one-year $7.75 million deal this season, it was a move out of desperation following injuries to Sean Bouchard and Randal Grichuk as well as some uninspiring spring training performances from Michael Toglia and Nolan Jones. By most accounts, his contract was quite an overpay, but that’s the price you pay at the midnight hour. The Rockies have gotten mostly what they bargained for when it comes to Profar’s contributions, a not-terrible defender that can get on base, but is it enough to garner any trade interest from teams in need?
Headlined by a 37-game on-base streak earlier, Profar has done an admirable job for the Rockies despite what some of his numbers look like. After a slow first month due to no spring training, Profar has done a good job of limiting strikeouts, drawing walks, and putting the ball in play. Unfortunately, he’s been the same player he’s always been. He’s gotten his batting average to .236 in the range and has a .695 OPS.
The power isn’t quite there with just six home runs, but he has 17 doubles on the season along with a pair of triples, and has driven in 27 runs. While most metrics will place Profar as a sub-par outfielder, he has passed the eye test in many instances, but still likely isn’t playing up to a level that would justify a team taking on the rest of his contract for a switch-hitter that doesn’t provide much overall and would likely play a bench role. Still, maybe the Rockies are willing to swallow part of his contract in order to get a favorable prospect.
Since returning from the injured list, Randal Grichuk has been a quality contributor to the Rockies' lineup. Despite a severe absence of power (a troubling trend plaguing the roster in general), Grichuk has been able to make plenty of contact. With an average hovering around .294 and an on-base around .360 (both career-highs at the moment), Grichuk has managed 16 doubles with 16 RBIs as well as scoring 26 runs for the team. He also has a 107 OPS+ and a 101 wRC+ which is the highest it has been since 2020.
What’s helping Grichuk is that he has cut down on his strikeouts and increased his walks significantly. Currently, he has a strikeout rate of 21.7% and a walk rate at 7.9% (a career-high). Add in the fact he is swatting line drives 33.1% of the time and is no longer the groundball king with a 38.5% groundball rate. Yes, his flyballs are way down but he’s still hitting balls hard at the same rate which is a good sign. Defensively, much like Profar, he’s not going to dazzle you and metrics are a little harsher, but he’s still an adequate defender that can play all three outfield positions.
However, the Rockies may see more value in keeping Grichuk around to continue to help mentor young outfielders like Brenton Doyle and Nolan Jones while still providing some good marks in the lineup.
Over the first month of the season, C.J. Cron seemed like a slam-dunk trade candidate this season if he could produce power at a solid clip like he did the last two seasons, but a back injury has put a damper on any progress on that front. Cron last played on May 14 but is now back from the injured list and the Rockies have about a month to see if Cron can prove some worth and regain his power stroke. If he can even supply some sort of production akin to Moustakas or better, they could find a way to net a decent deal. Much like the other two in this article, some money might need to be exchanged.
In 33 games this season, Cron struggled to a .228/.277/.426 slash line with six home runs, nine doubles, and 20 RBI. Aside from the awful on-base and subpar average, Cron was still productive in his own usual way. His strikeouts and walks were trending in a good direction this season as well, combined with his serviceable defense at first base, he could have been an attractive piece for any number of teams looking for more pop. It’s likely the plan is to get him as much playing time as possible at first base and designated hitter to build value and production, while still finding ways to keep Nolan Jones and hopefully Elehuris Montero in the lineup.
While it would be nice to see the Rockies have a sort of trade deadline sale, the pieces they do have that would be the easy no-brainers don’t seem to offer much value to teams in need of additions. Still, some recent moves prove that it is possible to move these veterans. The deals likely won’t be significant in any way, but the Rockies can’t really choose to be picky at the deadline this season because compensation picks won’t be coming their way. The youth movement is here and the Rockies have to keep up with it.
The past two seasons, Ryan McMahon has been a finalist for the Gold Glove at third base, losing to Nolan Arenado both years. By some defensive metrics, McMahon is neck and neck with Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates in terms of defensive runs saved and outs above average to lead National League third baseman. He’s also done it in over 100 less innings. However, will opposing managers and coaches be able to turn away from Arenado’s legacy?
It may be recency bias, but Thomas Harding’s entry into this article points out Seung-hwan Oh as the Rockies’ best Trade Deadline move this century. Personally, I’m not sure I would agree with that, but the theme of the article seems to be the deals that improved the receiving franchise the best and the Rockies have never really been buyers at the deadline so it’s pretty slim pickings.
On the Farm
In his debut with the Spokane Indians after being acquired from the Angels via trade on Saturday, Connor Van Scoyoc turned in a strong performance. He tossed 6 1⁄3 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on nine hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. Spokane managed to get a run across in the ninth and almost tied the game up on Nic Kent’s RBI single, but Jordan Beck was thrown out at the plate. Spokane then managed to get runners on third and second with two outs, but a strikeout of Jose Cordova concluded the game.
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