The entire baseball world watched and laughed when the Colorado Rockies did absolutely nothing at the 2022 MLB trade deadline.
The Colorado Rockies were not in any place to win (12 games under 0.500!) at the trade deadline. Instead of selling valuable assets, they sat on their hands and did nothing, claiming they could compete with the team they had.
This team had one of their worst Septembers on record, one of their most forgettable seasons of all time, and fell on their face with a Coors-soaked thud. Dick Monfort’s end-of-year statement clarified that the future of the Rockies is to just hand the team to the rookies and hope for the best. Not an ideal statement for the “win-now” mentality that they claim to have.
I have to ask, though, would the future have been better if the Rockies had sold at the deadline? Probably not for 2023, but for 2024 or 2025? Certainly. The lack of movement at the 2022 trade deadline could haunt the Colorado Rockies until the mid-2020s. Let’s break down what they should have done.
Who the Rockies should have traded
Well, this is easy, so I will list them off and then give a quick rundown: Jose Iglesias, Chad Kuhl, Alex Colomé, Daniel Bard, and C.J. Cron.
I can forgive not trading Bard. The team extended him rather than get rid of the relief pitching bWAR leader. He was arguably the reliever of the year this year. If you want to compete, a guy like that can be critical to team success. So fine, keep him.
As he was certainly the best player on the team at the deadline, Cron could have certainly pulled some fantastic prospects from potential playoff teams with his extra year of control. His stats became muted (like most Rockies players) after the deadline. With his year of control and All-Star talent, he could have been used to receive a quite nice piece for the Rockies’ next window. Now, he will probably play through the season next year, lead the team to another 70-win season, and become a free agent without the Rockies getting anything in return.
Iglesias, Colomé, and Kuhl were probably the most frustrating people to see in Colorado jerseys come August 3. Each of them were only signed through the end of the season. Pre-deadline Colomé and Kuhl were dealing on the mound, and Iglesias was flashy at shortstop with an average bat. They were easy rentals to send to bubble teams for prospects. Sure, prospects from rentals could amount to nothing, but it’s also better than floundering to 68 wins and just letting them go for nothing. This was the biggest surprise of the deadline, not that all three weren’t dealt, but that not even one of them was traded.
The worst part is that Iglesias, Colomé, and Kuhl all massively regressed after the deadline. It literally cost the team to keep them around. Iglesias saw his first half tOPS of 111 fall to 84 for the second half. For the pitching side, Colomé saw his impressive first-half ERA of 2.86 be more than quadrupled in the second half with a 13.86, the worst half for any Colorado pitcher in 2022. Kuhl also saw his first and second half split balloon out from 4.11 to 9.00. All three players were desirable at the trade deadline, but now they will all be looking for minor league deals now that the season has ended. The fact that the Rockies kept these guys looks even worse in hindsight.
The new draft lottery may discourage tanking, but a better chance for the first pick and some prospects would have been far superior to the decisions we saw on August 2. Now Colomé, Kuhl, and Iglesias walk off into the sunset, not helping the Rockies compete now, nor in the future, their Rockies tenure ending up being defined by the fact that the Rockies didn’t get rid of them sooner.
The Colorado Rockies have never really been splashy buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, but the 2022 deadline could end up holding back the team for the next half a decade. Whether it had been Bard for mid-level prospects, Cron for high-level prospects, or the trio of Iglesias, Kuhl, and Colomé for low-level prospects, there was so much potential for the Rockies to position themselves for the future. Instead, they did nothing.
Congrats on not getting 100 losses, I guess. It’s the only thing this team had going for it this season. Glad this season is over. Now sign Aaron Judge so he can beat Barry Bonds’ home run record at Coors.
Data for this article was found using Baseball Reference and Wikipedia.