Every move the Rockies make this offseason will be a big one
After September, the Rockies will go into another offseason and have a ton of roster decisions to make. Some of those roster decisions will vary in shock factor. Meaning, some you see being made might shock or excite the baseball community and others will be seen as minor moves.
I’m here to tell you though that for the Rockies, every move made should be seen as a huge decision. Whether it’s possibly trading Charlie Blackmon or another big star on the team or a minor leaguer/smaller name, Colorado’s front office should be very careful and Rockies’ fans should be very observant of every move made.
This isn’t only because of how the Rockies have played on the field this year and the team needing to upgrade talent wise. It’s also because of the players the Rockies have let go this year that would have been or could have been huge future pieces for the team.
Let me explain further with giving you a few player stat lines with some blind stats. Before I tell you who these players are, check out these batting lines and see if you can guess who these three former Rockies are:
Player A: .277 batting average, 13 home runs, 47 runs batted in, 46 runs scored and only playing in 87 games this season.
Player B: .326 batting average, 24 home runs, 91 runs batted in, 100 runs scored and only 80 strikeouts this season thus far.
Player C:.276 batting average, 17 home runs, 38 runs batted in, 28 runs scored and only playing in 67 games this season so far.
If you guessed that player A is Yankees outfielder Mike Tauchman, Player B is Yankees infielder D.J. LeMahieu and Player C is Mariners catcher Tom Murphy, you are correct.
While Tauchman is now out for six to eight weeks, I think these three players’ stat lines represent a great presentation on why the Rockies need to be more careful with every move made. All three of these players represent a different variety of impact moves made by the Rockies, which makes it an even better example.
For instance, Tauchman was at the time seen as a minor move for the Rockies to trade him to the Yankees. LeMahieu being allowed to walk in free agency was seen as a huge decision by the Rockies when they made that move. Finally, Murphy being allowed to walk was at the time seen as a choice that was somewhere in the middle of being a big deal, but also not being a big deal.
All three moves though no doubt have hurt the Rockies, as the team now could really use all three players.
Before you start yelling at this article as to why the Rockies let these players go/walk, let me do it for you. Yes, I understand that Tauchman was mostly seen as a good to great AAA player that may never be a major league player. Yes, I also understand that Tauchman was blocked by a lot of guys in the Rockies system. Yes, I get that LeMahieu wanted a decent contract and the team had plans to play Ryan McMahon or Brendan Rodgers at second base every day. And yes, I get that there were reasons the organization believed that Murphy was not living up to his prospect hype and may never still.
I get all that. But, undoubtedly all three of these players would have been very welcomed at 20th and Blake this season and beyond.
If any or all three of these players were still on the Rockies right now, the team would be better in the win column. Still don’t believe me? Add up all of their Wins Above Replacement, it equals 11.
That could have been 11 more wins for the Rockies or even if it’s not all of them still on the teams roster, it would have represented a different number of wins for the team. Would it have been enough for a playoff run this year or to change things significantly this season? Yes and no.
Yes, the Rockies could have had more production out of those spots that may have led to more wins and maybe more momentum. But also no, because the team’s pitching would have still been horrendous most likely and broke down in June and July.
So what’s the point? The point is, if the Rockies had done better talent evaluation and been more careful with these three moves, they would have three better players on their roster right now.
Can you imagine if the Rockies had Murphy on their roster at the moment? They would have a legitimate power-hitting catcher. Just look at his numbers and he’s even playing in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly ballpark. Imagine Murphy being allowed to flourish and come into his own at 20th and Blake.
Imagine if the Rockies would have kept LeMahieu around (on what turned out to be a pretty friendly deal). The could have played him at first instead of Murphy or had a trade piece in McMahon or Rodgers.
Lastly, imagine if the Rockies had kept Tauchman. Right now, he may have been getting playing time and becoming a valuable fourth outfielder or improving his trade stock. The Rockies could have still traded him this summer for more than what they got in return,
Moving forward, the Rockies front office needs to be better analytically and better with foreseeing the value in certain players for the future. The Rockies in recent years have been the butt of many jokes when it comes to players they’ve passed over in the draft for other players that didn’t turn into anything. You can now add to that list the fact the Rockies have passed up on talent they already had on their roster.
How come the Yankees saw the value in Tauchman and LeMahieu? It’s because they did their homework analytically and knew they were getting huge value and steals out of these players. Same thing with the Mariners. They saw a player (who was also released from the Giants) who had potential to be a good righty power hitting catcher.
It’s something the Rockies need to be careful of moving forward and need to improve upon. You don’t want to be afraid to release any players or trade any players, but you also have to be careful you don’t give other teams valuable players that you could have used.