Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tulo and Hooch

This past year has made it quite clear: in my world of sports, I am not allowed to have nice things. To recap, the Rockies closed out a dismal 2014 season, the Pepsi Center sat empty over the winter as the Nuggets and Avalanche both missed the playoffs, the Broncos turned a successful regular season into a massive face plant in their first playoff game, and the Rockies started yet another disaster season at the bottom of the NL West. All of this ineptitude peaked with the Bombers of Blake Street making the biggest front office movement of their last five years - they traded Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Done Did It. . . Maybe?

A week and a half ago, I placed myself in Jeff Bridich's shoes and mapped out a path forward for my hapless Rockies. Naturally, Jeff did nothing that I recommended. This disparity most likely explains why he is running the front office of a Major League Baseball team and I am managing highway design projects. On Friday, the non-waiver trade deadline passed. The passing of the trade deadline does not mean that the Rockies are done moving pieces around, it just means that any player subject to a trade will need to clear waivers first. So where did Bridich and I differ?

Before we get into the misses, let's focus on where I freaking nailed it.

The Rockies traded LaTroy Hawkins.

That was a short list of successful predictions. The only player that was traded from my list of players that I recommended moving was the oldest player in the league. That's it. No De La Rosa, Gonzalez, Betancourt, Rosario, or Axford. Just Hawkins.

However, there was one player traded; a prediction that I missed completely: Troy Trevor Tulowitzki. Allow myself to quote. . . myself.

Tulo would return a haul of players/prospects. However, there is so much about Tulo that makes me hesitant to move him. He is the face of the franchise (and has been since Helton started sliding late in his career), he is the best shortstop in baseball, and I'm not sure that the Rockies would get a fair trade value for him. The Rockies are notoriously bad at holding onto assets too long, but Tulo is one player that I would recommend keeping around.

Instead of doing what I recommended, Jeff Bridich turned the best shortstop in baseball into Jose Reyes, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco. The first is a former All-Star and a former 30-30 threat who has experienced a dramatic decline in production (both sides of the ball) and is due a lot of money. The last three are all young, hard-throwing right handed pitchers.

Including Reyes in the deal makes me think that the trade was made for financial purposes. Reyes is due more money than the Rockies would have been paying Tulo each season, but with much smaller returns. There were a few rumors when the Tulo trade broke that there was a third team involved that would take on Reyes. This scenario made sense as Reyes could have been packaged with another Rockie or two for more pitching. The Rockies have a backup plan in Trevor Story, a highly-touted SS crushing the ball in Albuquerque. That third team never emerged and Reyes reported to his new team a couple days later.
Older (and much better) Asheville Tourists logo
I don't know much about Castro and Jesus, other than they are both right-handed, both young (20 years old) and are not Tulo. Tinoco had his debut with the Asheville Tourists on Sunday and it was as spectacular as a mid-afternoon Class A game against the Savannah Sand Gnats can be. (There is so much to love about minor league baseball. . .) Castro was assigned to the Albuquerque Isotopes and has completed two innings in two appearances. Yippie.
That Sand Gnat is ripped.
Hoffman is the centerpiece of the trade and is a pirate. For real. He attended East Carolina University before being drafted #9 overall in the 2014 draft, slipping down from potentially being taken in the top three picks of the draft after having Tommy John surgery. While Hoffman was the key to this trade, I really wish the Rockies would have gotten Daniel Norris instead. Hoffman was assigned to the soon-to-be defunct New Britain Rock Cats and made his debut on Saturday. Reports are that he pitched incredibly well against the Class AA hitters of the Erie SeaWolves. How this trade pans out for the Rockies is directly related to what Jeff Hoffman becomes. No pressure, kid.

And that was it. The trade deadline on Friday passed with no other activity from the Rockies. Bridich did not move his most valuable remaining asset (CarGo) or his new expensive toy (Reyes) or his butthead boss (Monfort). Rockies fans, including me, were perplexed. The trade of Tulo was supposed to be the start of the rebuild, the start of a new era at Coors. Instead, we sat and scratched our heads at the inactivity. There is still time to move some pieces, so I am going to make another failed attempt at being Jeff Bridich.

Waiver-Trade Candidates
Carlos Gonzalez - His name will continue to pop up on these lists until he is traded. CarGo now is the most valuable trade piece that Bridich has. With two remaining years on the contract worth $17 million and $20 million, there is potential that CarGo clears waivers. There are so many teams that should want his ridiculously high production. The problem is that he is injury prone and has played in all but seven of the Rockies' games this year. He's begging for something to break. His game also consists of streaky patches of peaks and valleys. This month of hitting the cover off the ball could easily be followed up with a three week slump. As the pressure to make the post-season increases, more teams will be willing to pick up a power-hitting corner outfielder.

Jose Reyes - With his contract ($22 million / year for 2016 and 2017 plus a club option in 2018), no one will claim Jose as he tumbles through waivers. Despite his decline, there are teams out there that could use an upgrade at shortstop. The Rockies will most likely need to eat some of Reyes' salary to move him. The Blue Jays are probably not a candidate.

Wilin Rosario - Baby Bull still needs to go to the American League. With his relatively low salary ($2.8 million this year with two more years of arbitration), he might get claimed on waivers. Still, a young, powerful DH for a young, powerful SP sounds like a great deal for both sides.

Drew Stubbs - The Rockies are paying nearly $6 million for a .202 batting average. I think he clears waivers, but I'm not sure if there are any teams interested.

Clearly, I suck at predicting what Bridich will do with this team. For now, I'll just enjoy tomorrow's game, the first major league start in the career of Jon Gray.

You may be wondering why I didn't talk about Tulo. One reason is that I have way too many words in this post already. The main reason is that I am still crying. Maybe later this week. . .
This looks unnatural.