Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Colorado Rockies reach halfway point right on pace for 100 losses

The Rockies should take whatever they can get for Guthrie.
The Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels are the only two franchises who have never lost 100 games in a season.

That might change if the Rockies keep the same pace in the second half that they have been on in the first.

Dropping the Independence Day game 4-1 to the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, the Rockies hit the halfway point at exactly 31-50. Double that and the magic number is 62-100. Unacceptable for anyone who roots for the team, but possibly acceptable for the people running it.

Game 81 was a fitting way to finish off the first half. It was as bland as many of the other games the Rockies weren't really ever in. The positive for Colorado is that they may have received a good enough start from Jeremy Guthrie to push his trade value up enough to get more than a few batting practice baseballs for him.

The embattled righty went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He walked one, which was controversial as nearly every pitch in the at-bat was in the strike zone. The two runs he gave up came in the first two innings. He then settled in and got through four more innings, reaching only 84 pitches.

With July in full swing, the time is now for the Rockies to start trading off nearly any player with any sort of worth. There are very few players on this team that should be off limits. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are on the top of the list. Despite how poor this team has performed, there are very few trade scenarios that would even be worth a conversation for either of those two players.

Beyond that, if the right package is offered, the club should jump on it. Obviously some guys have more value than others, but if a team overwhelms Dan O'Dowd, he needs to jump on it. It is time to get guys into the farm system that are going to be Major League ready before the end of 2013.

There are a few obvious trade candidates. It would be a crime if Jason Giambi, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez, or Guthrie finished the year with the Rockies. Those are players who should hold some value on the market. If even one of them remains with the team beyond the July 31st deadline, O'Dowd should have to wear a gorilla suit into work on August 1st to avoid angry Rockies fans.

The only exception would be if Hernandez isn't healthy enough to be traded. Beyond that, not a single one of those guys should walk into free agency without the Rockies getting even a low-level prospect for them.

After the easy decisions come a few harder choices. Do the Rockies move Rafael Betancourt? The closer has been nothing short of phenomenal for the Rockies. He is a strike-thrower and is as dependable as it gets. He is also locked up at a fairly cheap rate for a closer through 2013. The price should be high for Betancourt.

Dexter Fowler is another name that has been thrown around. The centerfielder seems like he has finally put his game together. It seems that as soon as he gets hot, Jim Tracy starts messing around with the lineup and finds ways to cool him off. The latest interesting decision with Fowler has been to sit him more on the road, where he struggles more. It is interesting because he is hardly the only Rockie who struggles away from Coors Field. Moving him should not be a priority. He is under team control through 2015. However, with Tyler Colvin's emergence, the front office might see Fowler as a sell-high type of candidate and get some Major League-ready prospects.

The other name thrown around is Todd Helton. Do the Rockies move him in order to give Colvin more of a chance to play? It is an interesting question. However, with Helton's struggles, it doesn't seem likely that the Rockies would get enough of a return to ship out the best player in franchise history. The value coming back just wouldn't be worth the move.

The sad thing for the Rockies is that on July 4th, it isn't even a question as to whether they should sell. For weeks everyone knew that they would be selling. Even the pessimists couldn't have imagined that this team would be on pace to lose 100 games.

Nearly the entire roster should be on the trading block on July 31st, but come October 1st, the entire front office should be trying to sell their services to another Major League team.

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