After a 21-7 June, the Colorado Rockies suddenly find themselves in a pennant race.
Less than three weeks ago, this was a team on the verge of trading away its best players, packing its bags and hoping for next year.
Now, the Rockies are a team poised to make a run at the playoffs.
As we sit three weeks from the July 31 trading deadline, what is the team’s next move?
This was, after all, a team stacked with potential trade bait only a few weeks ago. Now, most of these players look to be serious contributors to a potential Rockies playoff race.
Do the Rockies sell off their spare parts, or does the team add talent and take a shot at the wild card? The answer is simple: both.
Rockies closer, Huston Street has been nothing short of brilliant this year, converting 19 of 20 save opportunities. Discounting a particularly rocky start in which he gave up seven runs in his first eight appearances, Street has been nearly unhittable of late, carrying an ERA of 1.60 since the end of April.
Make no mistake about it; in this trade climate and with many teams clamoring for bullpen help, Street would be worth at least two quality prospects, perhaps more if the situation is right.
Jon Heyman of SI.com recently said that Huston Street alone could be worth more on the trade market than Matt Holliday, one of the most coveted players around.
If the Rockies could somehow turn Street into a young top-of-the-rotation talent and a couple of role playing pieces, it would be a mistake for general manager Dan O’Dowd not to pull the trigger.
Street is making $4.05MM this season and will make even more next year, considering he will be arbitration eligible. O’Dowd rarely allows such players to weigh down his budget from year to year.
While the Rockies will likely remain in the NL playoff race, the package that Street will likely garner may be too good to pass up. If the Rockies do make the playoffs, Street will be a big reason why, but the team must not lose track of its future.
Look for the Rockies to hold onto Street right up until the deadline and then ship him off for the best possible package likely to include at least one major league ready arm.
This will not be a case of the Rockies throwing in the towel and neglecting its fan base. Rather, this is a move the Rockies need to make in order to stay relevant not just this year, but deep into the future as well.
In addition to a potential change in closer, O’Dowd will likely consider a number of other moves to shore up his budget for next year and maximize his talent return.
Look for the Rockies to eventually flip Garrett Atkins, especially now that he is playing up to potential. The team would likely ask for an experienced arm out of the bullpen, one that might help ease the loss of Street.
Other potential pieces the Rockies might move include veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba and starting pitcher Jason Marquis.