Colorado Rockies: Connor Joe trade tough for fans, but necessary

Jun 5, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Connor Joe (9) during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Connor Joe (9) during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Not all necessary moves made in Major League Baseball win points with the fan base. Such was the case with the trade of Connor Joe from the Colorado Rockies to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. While Joe was a fan favorite in Denver, he had also become a player without a position in the Mile High City.

Selected in the first round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates (39th overall pick), Joe is heading back to the Pirates in a trade that nets the Rockies minor league pitcher Nick Garcia, who made 23 starts at High-A last season and will provide Colorado some much-needed pitching depth.

The Connor Joe trade is tough for the Colorado Rockies fans, but a necessary one for the franchise

Over the past couple of seasons where there has been little to cheer for when it comes to the Rockies, Joe has been a bright spot. The 30-year-old Joe, who overcame testicular cancer that spread to his lung, requiring chemotherapy just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to explode in our society in early 2020, worked his way into the Colorado lineup last summer and secured an everyday role that included serving as the team’s leadoff hitter. Joe thrived in the role before an hamstring injury suffered on September 3 prematurely ended his season.

He finished 2021 slashing .285/.379/.469 in 179 at-bats and seemed to be primed to play a pivotal role for the Rockies in 2022. Cheered on by chants of “Joe, Joe, Joe” when he came to the plate in Denver and sharing an infectious energy and smile, Joe quickly became a fan favorite.

However, 2022 was a different story. Joe slashed just .139/.209/.266 in the second half of the season and earned just 65 plate appearances after August 1. The magic that Joe generated in 2021 simply disappeared in 2022 and Joe, despite his best efforts and hard work, couldn’t find his rhythm.

While Joe was struggling, finding a spot for him to play in a crowded outfield and first base became even tougher for manager Bud Black. The addition of Nolan Jones from the Cleveland Guardians this offseason didn’t help Joe’s situation, so perhaps the writing was on the wall for Joe, setting the table for the trade to Pittsburgh.

Colorado has been remaking its roster this offseason, trading Joe to the Pirates and outfielder Sam Hilliard to the Atlanta Braves while also severing ties with Garrett Hampson, who has since signed with the Miami Marlins in an effort to restart his struggling career. The moves are showing that general manager Bill Schmidt, who has outfield options in prospects Brenton Doyle and Zac Veen climbing through the minors, isn’t going to stand pat with a team that has posted a 142-181 mark over the past two seasons. While the moves themselves may not be individually popular, seeing some sort of change in Denver is a welcome sign as Rockies fans watch the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres reload yet again.

Next. Another solid move made by the Rockies this offseason. dark

Make no mistake about it … Connor Joe will be missed in Denver for what he brought to the team on and off the field. However, with the end of his time with the Rockies, fans can also hope that it’s another step toward better days ahead at 20th and Blake.