Now that the Rockies are seven games under .500 and 11.5 game back of the Giants, they’ve reached a cross-over point. They are no longer a mediocre baseball team. Now, they are just a bad baseball team.
Certainly, the loss of Cargo hurts badly. However, the dismal performance over the last few nights can’t be blamed on the loss of their star outfielder. That’s just making excuses. In reality, this was a team that was teetering on the edge and Cargo’s wrist injury was just the gust of wind that sent them off the cliff. At this point, Tulo might be the only person in Denver that thinks they can turn it around.
Now that they are officially out of it, the Rockies seem to be shopping every player not named Tulo or Cargo. Well, I guess shopping isn’t exactly the right word. To actually shop would have to involve Dan O’Dowd being a little proactive, and, as we all know, that’s not really his style. When O’Dowd admits to shopping players, he means that he’s mostly just fielding phone calls. However, over the next few weeks, he might have a chance to make this team better, and, if he does, I sincerely hope that he takes advantage. And, just so we are clear, that does not mean trading Ubaldo.
If Dan O’Dowd can find someone to take Ty Wigginton off his hands, he better jump all over that opportunity. The Rockies owe Wiggy $4 million next season. Losing that salary might free them up to actually address some of their issues this off-season. But more than his contract, Ty is just a really bad fit in Denver. The Rockies must play good defense. It is hard enough to pitch in Coors Field without a liability like Wigginton playing in the field. However, he does provide some value as a right handed bat and apparently there are teams interested in that. If O’Dowd finds a team to take the defensive plague that is Wigginton, I might even be able to forgive him for signing Wiggy in the first place. Hopefully, there is some contender that will buy into the Wiggy plays hard every day malarkey.
Beyond dumping the defensive abomination, there probably aren’t any trades that O’Dowd should preemptively pursue. If teams come calling about players like Iannetta, Seth Smith, and Herrera, he should listen. If the right deal comes along, he should take it. However, it’s important to remember how close this team is to contending. No doubt, they’ve been disappointing this season, but they’re only missing a few pieces. Aside from Wiggy, every player that has been subject to trade speculation will give the team value if they keep them. They’re in position to sell a few pieces in order to get better in the future, but they aren’t in position to blow up the roster around Tulo and Cargo. That’s not what either player had in mind when they signed long term deals. Also, a fire sale that causes the team to regress will generate a lot of ill will with the fans.
A few notes on some of the Rockies’ trade targets:
Chris Iannetta — If the Rockies trade Iannetta, they are making a commitment to Wilin Rosario next season. However, it’s highly doubtful that Rosario is ready to take over as an everyday catcher. He has a bright future, but it’s a tough position. Not only is he still developing, he has yet to stay healthy for a full season. In time, Rosario will probably be a better defensive and offensive catcher than Iannetta, but he won’t be next year. That’s why Chris should only be traded if it’s a pretty favorable deal. He may not be here next year, but he will be needed.
Seth Smith — Smith has been struggling on defense lately, which Tracy apparently attributes to a shoulder injury he suffered in 2007. It’s interesting that an incident that occurred four years ago is just now having an effect on Smith. In fact, it makes no sense whatsoever. Anyway, I digress. Smith would an attractive option for any contender looking for a very solid left-handed outfield bat. However, what most fans would like to see is him facing lefties for the rest of the season. It would be wise to insert the young, talented left-hander in the lineup every single day regardless of who is on the mound.
Jason Giambi — Giambi was actually emerging as a very solid trade target. Then he blew his quad out running to first base. If he goes on the DL, which is apparently likely, his trade value will tank. No team is going to want a hurt forty year-old.
Relievers — If they can get something valuable for a guy like Betancourt, I say go for it. But, again, it would be a shame if their bullpen held them back next year because they unnecessarily traded some valuable parts.
Aaron Cook, Ian Stewart, Dexter Fowler, EY Jr., and anyone else you want to name here — These players have no value. Aaron Cook has been beyond terrible. No contender would be better off with him in the rotation. Also, the team has tipped their hand with Fowler and Stewart. Opposing GMs see them as players that the Rox have given up on and won’t offer much in return.
A little something to help everyone feel better today…