The Colorado Rockies are hovering around .500 but are not far out of the Wild Card race. What should they do at the trade deadline?
The Colorado Rockies are what you would expect for a team that plays its home games in a great hitting park. A strong hitting team that can’t pitch too well. They rank second in the majors in slugging percentage and fourth in runs. Due to playing in hitters haven Coors Field they pay for those great hitting stats by also allowing a ton of runs. They are 28th in the majors in ERA and 27th in batting average allowed. Most of that is their 6.19 home ERA (through games of June 22), by far worst in the majors. Their 3.89 road ERA is 11th in the majors.
Starter Tyler Chatwood is the most extreme example of this dynamic. His home ERA is 5.10 in seven home starts while on the road he has a 1.25 ERA over seven starts. The former Angels second rounder is out with a back issue though he should be back after only a few weeks. He currently ranks 10th in the National League in Wins Against Replacement (WAR) with 2.9.
The biggest story concerning the Rockies this season so far is their DFA (designation for assignment) of Jose Reyes, who was acquired, along with prospects, from Toronto for one-time Rockies cornerstone Troy Tulowitzki. The deal made financial sense as Tulowitzki was still owed over $100 million in July of 2015 when the trade was made. Reyes was still owed $48 million on his deal at the start of the season. He was suspended 51 games for a domestic violence incident and has not seen the field this season.
Reyes suspension opened the door at shortstop for Trevor Story who blasted six homers in his first four major league games, then a seventh in the sixth game of the season. No one could keep up that pace, of course, but he has 18 homers through 71 Rockies games. His .877 OPS is outstanding for a shortstop, but he also leads the majors with 102 strikeouts. If he can continue to be a solid run producer, the departure of Tulo and Reyes will be an enormous cost savings for the team.
They can use that money to try and lock up budding superstar Nolan Arenado, whose spectacular fielding at third base has now been matched by his fantastic hitting prowess. Arenado still has two more years of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency. He is currently sixth in the majors with a 3.9 WAR, tied for the major league lead with 21 homers and tied for second in the majors in RBI with 60 (leading the NL in both categories). He led the majors with 130 RBI and the National League with 42 homers last season. Arenado has won Gold Gloves each of his three years in the majors.
Those are not their only great players, but now that you have had your introduction to the Rockies (who are treading water at 34-38 through Thursday, but only 4.5 games out of a wild card spot), let’s talk about what they might want to do at the trade deadline. Should they buy, to try and make a longshot run at the playoffs or try to trade off some of their better veterans to a contending club who is closer to the top?
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