“If we stay healthy.”
Ask any coach or high ranking official to assess his or her team’s postseason prospects, and that phrase will undoubtedly be part of the conversation. For this years’ Colorado Rockies, it’s doubly so when it comes to the starting rotation.
So what happens when the inevitable injury bug does hit? Where do the reinforcements come from?
For contending teams in Major League Baseball, those reinforcements are supposed to come from a team’s farm system. That’s not a comforting notion for this year’s Rockies, who at the moment have a very shallow pool of big league ready talent at their disposal down on the farm. It’s pretty common knowledge that this year’s Rockies will have to depend, even more so than usual, on all their key pitchers remaining healthy. So ask yourself this question: How often do teams in any sport these days, “stay healthy.” Mostly…never.
So if their farm system can’t provide help, that leaves trades as the only real alternative to fortifying a roster.
MLB’s trade deadline arrives at the end of July and there’s bound to be the typical flurry of activity in the days leading up to it. In most years, Colorado remains on the bench, either overly content with what they have and/or loathe to give up players or prospects that they covet, regardless of the possible return.
There’s no reason to assume that will change this season, regardless of whether or not the Rockies remain in contention for a play-off spot.
So here’s a thought: In order to remain in contention, perhaps General Manager Bill Schmidt and the Rockies front office could get proactive sooner rather than later? What would be wrong with trying to act now in an effort to improve the depth in the starting rotation before it’s desperately needed?
No front line big league starting pitchers will be available right now. And frankly, that’s not what the Rockies need to be chasing. It’s unaffordable, in terms of what you’d have to give up, and it’s unrealistic. What the Rockies need is reinforcements at Triple A – a top shelf pitching prospect or two that can get ready at Albuquerque to be called upon when needed down the road. Recent draft picks have not measured up as of yet…or haven’t been able to stay healthy.
Colorado does have big league caliber depth in certain places, like the outfield. Assuming Kris Bryant comes back healthy in a week or two, the Rockies will have even more outfielders than places to play them. The DH spot does afford guys like Charlie Blackmon and Connor Joe a way to contribute even when they’re not in left, center or right, but that still leaves Bryant, Sam Hilliard, Yonathan Daza, Randall Grichuk and even Garrett Hampson to choose from.
The Rockies could afford to part with one of those guys in order to get a promising Triple A pitcher back in return.
The situation has to be right for both sides of course. So maybe Schmidt and his guys wait for a contending team to lose an outfielder or two before making a quick call to see if that team would part with a nearly-ready pitching prospect?
It would be best for the team if they didn’t wait for the end of July to try to bolster the starting rotation. By then it might be too late.
Be sure to catch Mark Knudson and Manny Randhawa on the Park Adjusted Rockies Podcast each week, available on all major Podcast platforms.