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Should the Colorado Rockies be open to a trade for Trent Grisham?

Colorado Rockies news and links for Tuesday, January 16, 2024

On Friday, Sage Rylee Farron shared this tidbit on the Purple Row discussion board:

Rockies may consider trying to get the Yankees to flip Trent Grisham to them. Yankees need two 40-man spots opened.

At first, I couldn’t see it. The Colorado Rockies have, after all, their own glut of outfielders (Skyler Timmins’ “six-man platoon”) with general manager Bill Schmidt making clear, according to Thomas Harding’s reporting, the team’s intention to add a veteran lefty outfielder.

Since then, I’ve been pondering the possibilities, and it’s worth considering if he would fit into the Rockies’ plans.

Can you give me a quick refresher? Who is Trent Grisham?

Absolutely.

Grisham is a familiar figure to Rockies fans given his time with the San Diego Padres.

The 27-year-old outfielder is from Burleson, Texas, and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the 2015 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2019. At the conclusion of the season, he was traded to the Padres where he became their primary center fielder. In 2020 and 2022, he won Gold Gloves. His defense has been elite and is still above average — no one doubts that.

His offense, however, is complicated.

He has a career slashline of .216/.316/.383 with a career OPS+ of 95. In 2022, Grisham earned MLB’s lowest slashline, .184/.284/.341 in 451 PAs. Still, he’s patient at the plate with a career Pit/PA of 4.18 when the league average is 3.92. Last season, he had a 13.5% walk rate.

Grisham also has an OPS+ of 95 against RHP and an OPS+ of 114 against LHP.

In terms of Coors Field, Grisham has played 35 games there and slashed .210/.293/.476 with an OPS+ of 117. He’s also hit nine home runs there.

The only place he’s hit more is Petco Park with 23. So the track record is encouraging.

Wait. Wasn’t he just traded?

He was — to the New York Yankees as part of the deal that sent Juan Soto to the Bronx. At the time, fans were excited the Yankees finally had a true center fielder since Aaron Judge is better suited to right.

It turns out, however, the Yankees have their own outfielder traffic jam.

In addition to Judge, Soto, and Grisham, they also have Giancarlo Stanton plus prospects Jasson Domínguez (recovering from Tommy John surgery), Spencer Jones, and Everson Pereira.

Moreover, in one of the more baffling moves of the season, they also traded for Alex Verdugo.

Like the Rockies, the Yankees are looking to recover some offensive power. (They finished 2023 in the bottom of most AL batting categories.) Grisham will help their defense, but not their offense.

Still, right now, Grisham is a New York Yankee, and last week, he signed a $5.5 million contract, avoiding arbitration.

So is this happening?

It’s the Rockies, so anything is possible. Plus, the Rockies and Yankees have a history of trading players. (And the Rockies tend to be return shoppers.)

Here’s how Grisham would compare with the current crop of outfielders, and let me add at the outside this is not terribly helpful information given that so many of the Rockies are in small-sample-size territory. Still, here’s the data, according to FanGraphs:

This table gives the data for Nolan Jones, Brenton Doyle, Trent Grisham, Charlie Blackmon, Sean Bouchard, Michael Toglia, and Hunter Goodman. Notable trends are discussed in the text.
Comparison of Rockies outfielders and Trent Grisham
FanGraphs

Among this group, Grisham would have been the Rockies second-most-valuable player with 1.7 fWAR. And — I can’t believe I’m typing this — check out those home runs and stolen bases.

Grisham’s defense (1 DRS) pales next to that of Doyle (19) and Jones (9). After Charlie Blackmon (2), Grisham would have the most DRS of this group. Again, this is very limited data, but it suggests Grisham would be a positive addition.

That said, the biggest drawback would be Grisham’s blocking the younger players — and we know the Rockies’ proclivity for playing veterans over prospects in most cases.

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

But if Grisham would emerge as Mike Moustakas 2.0 with the Rockies trading him at the deadline, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. His $5.5 million contract is probably more than the Rockies want to pay for a veteran bench bat, but his potential trade value would be greater as well.

So is this happening?

I have trouble seeing it. Until the details of the Rockies television broadcast contract are known, this is probably going to be a team searching for a bargain-bin veteran outfielder rather than someone with a $5 million contract as well as the potential to play every day.

The Rockies need to let the kids play, and at some level they know that.

Trading for Trent Grisham, while it would immediately improve the Rockies, isn’t the kind of long-term planning the Rockies need as they plan for 2025.

Trent, good luck in the Bronx.

★★★

Remembering the Year of the Fan

Last week’s foray into the Rockies’ video archive had me returning for this gem, the immortal “Dinger in the Hot Tub”:

Rockies, we’re begging you: More of this, please.

Some unscientific research

The Rockies’ television broadcast contract remains a mystery, but over the weekend, I used Purple Row’s Twitter/X account to conduct a (clearly, unscientific) survey about fan attitudes toward paying to stream the Rockies games. The results are linked below.

For the Rockies, numbers like these cannot be encouraging.

★★★

Blast from the past

As you may have heard, old friend Charlie Culberson is attempting a comeback as a pitcher.

It turns out, there’s footage of him as a position player pitching against the Rockies, and I thought you might appreciate it.

Remembering some guys, indeed.

★★★

Baseball Canada Notebook: Honours for former Blue Jays all-star Saunders; Naylor brothers eye 2026 WBC | SportsNet Canada

Canadian and new Colorado Rockie Cal Quantrill is also featured in this piece, which describes his preparation for the 2024 season. He sounds, well, there’s no other way to put it, resigned. “This game is about winning,” Quantrill said. “As long as I last longer than their pitcher, I did my job. I know it’s probably not the premier destination for pitchers, but in the end, everyone’s got to go through it. Our game is smart, front offices are smart, everyone knows what it’s like. You prepare and don’t worry too much about it. Execute your pitches. It will turn out alright.”

The Park-adjusted Rockies Podcast #93 | The Park-adjusted Rockies Podcast

Where will you be able to watch the Colorado Rockies broadcasts in 2024? That’s the question Mark Knudson, Patrick Lyons, and Patrick Saunders set out to address this week. The discussion is interesting and concludes by pondering the possibility that the Rockies start their own RSN. (According to Saunders’ reporting, the Rockies returning their rights to MLB is not yet a done deal.) Make of that what you will.

★★★

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