The Rockies need to hold a liquidation sale before MLB’s trade deadline
Another All-Star Break, another below .500 season for the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies are trending toward their fourth-straight below-even season and their 21st in 30 years since coming online as an expansion club. One thing has held true for most summers, no matter how bad the purple pinstripes perform, they hold onto their players.
A recent run of 8-2 just before the mid-summer classic may convince Colorado that they’re close. After all, they are 10-7 in July and three games above .500 in the games Kris Bryant has been healthy for. But at 43-50, the Rockies are in fourth place, 18.5 games back of the Dodgers. Colorado is closer to the Wildcard but still 6.5 games out with five teams standing between them and the final spot. Without numbers, their season is over. With numbers, Fangraphs says the Rockies should end with 71 wins, and they have a 0.1% chance of making the postseason.
Unless you believe in the 1 in 1,000 scenario coming to be, it’s time to start thinking about 2023.
Given the record with Bryant, there’s actually hope that the Rockies are slightly better than their record may suggest, though it’s a tiny sample size of 33 games.
More concerning than Bryant struggling to stay on the field in the first of a seven-season contract is how old the team around the former MVP is. The Rockies have this season’s seventh-oldest lineup in baseball, and their staff ranks ninth-oldest. In fact, Brendan Rodgers is the team’s only hitter under age 26 to get over 100 plate appearances, while the pitching staff only has two arms who have thrown 20 or more innings and are under 26 years old. On top of this, Colorado’s farm system is ranked in the bottom third of MLB across the board.
So the Rockies could very much use some young talent, and the easiest way to do that is to flip some current players before the trade deadline early next month. Sadly Colorado didn’t do this last year, holding onto Trevor Story and Jon Gray only to let them go over the winter for the grand total of one compensation draft pick, which was used on Sunday.
Helpful contributors Jose Iglesias, Daniel Bard, Alex Colome, Carlos Estevez and Chad Kuhl are slated to become free agents this winter, with Charlie Blackmon having a player option for next season that he will likely pick up. Colorado could even flip Randal Grichuk, All-Star C.J. Cron, or former All-Star German Marquez, who all could become free agents after next season.
If you live in Dick Monfort’s magical world of unfounded hope of a pennant, then, by all means, run it back with a 73-win roster for the fifth-straight season and see what happens. In reality, this is not the year for the Rockies, and neither will 2023 be. But the moves made in the next month could help set the club up for 2024 and beyond.
I’m not saying tank; I’m saying trade some players you know aren’t coming back or won’t help the Rockies by the time they get good again. Looking at the Rockies past sells, they’ve rarely done this. Last year they did trade reliever Mychal Givens ahead of the deadline, adding Noah Davis, the organization’s 25th-ranked prospect right now. Davis may never do anything, but chances are higher that he helps the next winning team than Givens, who was already as good as gone. Any of Bard, Colome and Estevez could fit into this category of bullpen guys that should be flipped. And two of the current Rockies are much better than Givens.
Going back further, Colorado hasn’t really sold off since the Troy Tulowitzki and Ubaldo Jimenez trades, which were both unique since the players had fractured relationships with the franchise.
The Rockies haven’t had an actual sale, so why not try it this time around? The thing they’ve been doing for their first 30 years as a club hasn’t worked out so great, and it doesn’t seem to be trending to get better any time soon.