Before the 2019 season began, many lofty hopes were placed on the Rockies. Some included hopes that the Rockies may win the same amount of games or even more games than they did last year. Or hopes that the Rockies would win the NL West this season for the first time ever in franchise history. Or even the most lofty of a goal that the Rockies could even win a World Series or at least reach the NLCS this year.
Most of those expectations seemed very attainable at the time. I mean, after all the Rockies won 91 games last year in a division that once again saw one of its teams, the Dodgers, get to another World Series. So 2019 seemed very promising for the Rockies.
But it’s been anything but that for the boys on 20th and Blake.
The 2019 season has been an up-and-down roller coaster for the Rockies and that’s putting it nicely. The Rockies now sit at 46-50 overall. They’ve been a mediocre team at best most of the season and recently they’ve seemed to get even worse. They seem to be spiraling out of control after getting swept at home by the Giants to start the week.
On top of everything, outside of a nice grab or two by Nolan Arenado on a given night, this team isn’t particularly fun to watch. So where do the Rockies go from here? Do they keep grinding away at hopes that they can improve over the final 60-plus games this season? Maybe even hopes that they make a trade or two in order to drastically improve for a stretch run? Or do the Rockies do what no one possibly saw coming at the beginning of the season… be sellers.
It may be an answer Rockies’ fans don’t want to hear, but at this point the right answer might be for the Rockies to start selling off some pieces.
I understand that no fan wants to hear that their team in any sport is going to be a seller at the deadline. But at some point, you have to honestly evaluate your team. Are the Rockies good enough to win a World Series this year? Nope. What about next year? It looks like they’ll still be far off. Are they good enough to win the NL West this year? Not even close. What about next season? Heck no, and they might not even be the third best team in the division.
These are all questions the Rockies front office needs to be having a reality check on right now. It’s also the reason that as the July 31 trade deadline approaches in almost exactly two weeks, the Rockies need to sell instead of buy.
I’ll be honest, if someone told me in May or even June that the Rockies should sell at the deadline, I would have laughed and called them crazy. I mean, I’ve even written articles about who they should trade for at the deadline. The way the season has unfolded, though, the team and fans should change how they look at this team and the trade deadline. The Rockies now find themselves stuck in neutral. A place that if they wish to get back to contending again, they’ll need to eat the rest of this season a little and try to build via trade.
Now, what do I mean when I say sell and what degree of selling am I talking about? The answer should be nothing extreme, but maybe a major or bigger move or two that could really help them in the future.
I’m not saying trade Nolan Arenado (at least for this season) or someone like Brendan Rodgers (at least for this season). But I am saying don’t be afraid to make a splashy-type move, or at the very least trade some of the older players on this team that have some value.
The Rockies at the deadline this year should be looking to get some top-flight prospects back from another team that is in win-now mode this year. Maybe you don’t get a top prospect but some players in the top 20 or top 15 that could go a long way to keep building the Rockies farm system, as well as fuel the team for next year and beyond. It could also be a time to trade for a player that maybe another team has given up on already after signing. Maybe someone like a Jesus Aguilar of the Brewers who has taken a huge step back this year. It’s all about the Rockies finding upside in some players at the deadline this year for future seasons.
Who do the Rockies sell? I would look to sell players like Chris Iannetta, Bryan Shaw, Wade Davis (if someone would take his contract) and Jake McGee. I would also look to move players like Ian Desmond or even Daniel Murphy. They are owed some money still, but a contending team could probably use one of them down the stretch. Plus, if you’re not going to win this season, why not give some prospects or guys on the roster some more at bats. Who wouldn’t want to see Ryan McMahon at first the rest of the year with Garrett Hampson playing every day at second? I would certainly love that.
Every year at the trade deadline, one or two teams make a decision to sell when maybe the perception or hope before the season was that they would be buyers and contenders. Sometimes, those teams that make that decision get much better off those moves they make and come back even stronger.
For instance, the Yankees in 2016 were not a terrible team, but they decided that they weren’t good enough to win even the next season. So they sold some pieces. They ended up getting players back such as Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier.
The Rockies may not have the pieces the Yankees had that year, but they have some intriguing ones. They should use everything to their advantage at the deadline to sell and get better for future seasons.