As the calendar almost flips to June, the Rockies find themselves in a decent position to make a run for the National League West title or at least another wild card playoff berth. The team is riding some momentum as they appear to be figuring some things out.
Colorado is suddenly getting some consistent production out of their lineup. Their bullpen also appears to be somewhat fortified, even more so when closer Wade Davis returns from the injured list.
With all these areas of the team solidifying, what could go wrong for the boys on 20th and Blake this summer? Oh that’s right, the team’s starting rotation.
In that department, the list of challenges is long for the Rockies this season. Tyler Anderson has been lost with a knee injury this season or at least most of the year. Jon Gray remains a constant roller coaster ride of inconsistency. Jeff Hoffman continues to post ugly, inconsistent starts. Antonio Senzatela boasts a whopping a 5.81 ERA. And Kyle Freeland doesn’t look like himself.
With all of these obstacles, where do the Rockies turn?
They could go the minor league route with prospects Peter Lambert and others showing well. Or they could do what winning clubs do – go after a big addition to their rotation.
The best part about going the latter route is that Colorado wouldn’t even have to wait until the trade deadline in July to make a move. They can make a contender-like transaction right now by going after free-agent, left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel.
The 31-year-old hurler has spent his whole career with the Astros (including a 2017 World Series championship), but he is still out on the market after not being signed this offseason. The veteran lefty wasn’t left unsigned because of his numbers last year, as he went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA in 2018. Rather, he has remained a free agent because of his asking price early on and the fact that teams don’t want to give up draft compensation by signing Keuchel before the MLB Draft next week.
Technically, the deadline is June 2, the eve of the draft. After that date, teams will no longer be required to give up draft compensation for signing Kuechel. Thus, there will be a mini free-agent frenzy for he and relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel.
So why should the Rockies be interested?
It’s simple: Yhey need starting pitching. The Rockies should enter the Dallas Keuchel sweepstakes in hopes that they can land a big rotation piece. Not only should they enter it, they should look to sign Keuchel before the draft even starts next week.
With the Yankees, Rays and another four teams reportedly showing interest in Keuchel, other teams may already have him locked up by the time the June 2 deadline rolls around. But what if the Rockies made a hard push for him this week?
Maybe they could convince the prized free agent to come to the Mile High City. Maybe this would be Keuchel’s chance to give the other 29 teams in the league a stiff arm and to say I’m worth more than your draft compensation.
Yes, the compensation would hurt the Rockies. After all, baseball today is built off of the strength of your minor league system.
But what is a prized free agent worth?
Many teams will show you at the trade deadline by trading their top prospects for one. So for the Rockies it would be worth it to make this move.
Keuchel would bring a veteran presence and undoubtedly great numbers with him. Colorado should make this move and go for it in 2019.
Even if the Rockies understandably don’t want to lose the draft compensation, they should at least show interest and look into him next week. If they don’t get Keuchel, we could be seeing the Rockies trade for a middle-of-the-road starter in July.
If you want to win, sometimes you have to take chances. This is a chance the Rockies should take.
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