Colorado Rockies: Trade Deadline Strategy Blueprint

David A. Cucchiara@@cucch22Correspondent IJuly 7, 2013

Pitching is the priority for the Rockies at the MLB trade deadline.
Pitching is the priority for the Rockies at the MLB trade deadline.Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The MLB trade deadline is a little over three weeks away and the Colorado Rockies desperately need to make some noise to stay competitive.

Losers of four of their last five games, Rockies pitchers have surrendered just under eight runs a game over that stretch.

As Walt Weiss’ squad continues to slip further away from Arizona in the NL West, the Rockies' chances of a playoff berth are becoming less and less likely with every loss.

While most of team continues to hit, injuries to Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki have taken a toll on the runs column.

With pitching the perennial problem in Colorado, this year’s market is unquestionably starting pitching heavy.


What the Rockies Will Do

The Rockies traditionally aren’t buyers at the trade deadline and more than any team in baseball, they like to build from within rather than acquire expensive arms.

However, with such a mediocre and winnable NL West, Dan O’Dowd will likely make a minor move or two in the coming weeks.

The Rockies need to wake up and understand that the West can be won.

The injury to Fowler takes him off the block, but there are still a few tantalizing offensive options for ball clubs in need of a bat.

Although the organization has remained silent on the availability of most their players, the Rockies have some talent off the bench that will likely be on the move at the deadline.

Tyler Colvin is one of those names. Colvin quietly batted .290 last season with 18 homers and 72 RBI. Colvin began the season in Triple-A and hasn’t had the playing time he enjoyed last season.

Nevertheless, Colvin has proven he can hit and succeed in a starting role. He will be on the move at the deadline.

Since Ricky Nolasco was traded to the Dodgers on Saturday, virtually all public trade talks regarding the Rockies have come to a screeching halt.

So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say O’Dowd is going to send Tyler Colvin back to Chicago, along with a prospect package, for Cubs lefty James Russell.

Russell owns an ERA of 3.03 with 28 strikeouts and would provide relief to lefty Rex Brothers in the pen.

Chicago has also made available Nate Schierholtz, David DeJesus and relievers Kevin Gregg and Shawn Camp, according to Jon Heyman of

For the Rockies, silence usually means stagnation. O’Dowd will stay relatively quiet on the trade front this month.


What the Rockies Should Do

It’s every Rockies fan's dream that one day Dan O’Dowd will pull out the check book and make the necessary moves to keep the Rockies comfortably in contention.

Pitching is the necessity and it’s going to take more than the average arm to carry the Rockies to the playoffs.

Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood have sub-four ERAs and have pitched well down the stretch. It’s the back end of the rotation that is unable to win games.

Last week, Rockies pitching combined for a 7.95 ERA, surrendering 66 hits (11 home runs).

With a pitching-heavy market, the Rockies should make a play for a cheap, big-name starter.

The Astros’ Bud Norris is available and has pitched well of late. In his last seven starts, Norris posted a 2.54 ERA and 38 strikeouts.

The Astros ace is also one of the best deals on the market.

Being in a heavy rebuilding phase, the Astros are going to want talent. For an arm like Norris’, the Rockies would need to put a decent prospect package together, likely including names like Jayson Aquino and Tyler Matzek.

Another vital move for the Rockies would be calling GM Michael Hill over in Miami.

Marlins closer Steve Cishek and left-hander Mike Dunn are available, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Colorado, in desperate need of another left-handed arm in the bullpen, would be getting a great deal if they made a move for Cishek and Dunn.

Cishek owns a 2.97 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 17 saves this season, while Dunn has a 3.16 ERA with 35 strikeouts.

Like the Astros, the Marlins are in a rebuilding phase and would want a prospect package in return. Acquiring both those arms together would instantly upgrade a Rockies bullpen that has struggled of late.

Rosenthal also highlights the availability of the Mariners’ left-hander Charlie Furbush, who’s posted a 3.51 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 33.1 innings this season.

Seattle, who is well out of contention in the AL West, would probably want a bat in return. The Rockies would have to give up Colvin or D.J. LeMahieu to acquire Furbush from the Mariners.

Guys like Matt Garza, Yovani Gallardo and Cliff Lee are well outside the Rockies' price range, especially if the organization didn’t take a shot at Nolasco.

Rockies fans never get excited at the trade deadline and this year will be no different.


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