Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Colorado Rockies trade Alex White to Astros for Wilton Lopez

Alex White never realized his potential in a Rockies uniform.
The Colorado Rockies dealt starting pitcher Alex White, one of the main pieces of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, to the Houston Astros for late-inning reliever Wilton Lopez.

Lopez is a 29-year-old who owns a career ERA of 3.14 since 2009. He went 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA with 10 saves for the league-worst Astros in 2012.

White leaves Colorado as a tremendous disappointment after being seen as a potential front-end starter when he was included in the Jimenez trade that also brought back Drew Pomeranz. The problem for the right-hander was as simple as not throwing enough strikes. He got behind in counts far too often, then gave up the long ball after being forced into fastball counts.

The 23-year-old White gave up 25 home runs in just over 134 innings in a Rockies uniform. He 51 batters in 98 innings in 2012. That type of number simply doesn't add up to success, especially at Coors Field.

For the Rockies, the trade is a good one. Sure, White probably wasn't given enough time to develop. He was brought to the big leagues before he was ready. However, anyone honest watching White over the past season would agree that his stock was dropping. His stuff wasn't good enough to make him an ace-type, but more along the lines of a fifth starter, or even a long-reliever.

The Rockies certainly can't go into 2013 with too many starting pitchers. However, if they have a chance to deal someone who they don't believe will be a solid contributor, and they feel like they can get a quality reliever, something no team can have enough of, that team should jump on it.

Initial reactions on Twitter from fans suggest that the team still has a long way to go in terms of earning fans trust. Every move the team makes is going to come with backlash. While that has certainly been earned, it is time for fans to start looking at the moves without jaded glasses on.

The biggest complaint seems to be that White, being a part of the Jimenez trade, should have brought a better return, and that it shows that Dan O'Dowd was crazy for moving Jimenez for someone who only brings back a late-inning reliever.

The problem with that logic is that Jimenez certainly hasn't been the ace that the Cleveland Indians expected him to be. In fact, he was nearly non-tendered after a horribly disappointing season. His 17 losses lead the American League. His 5.40 ERA put him in the category of worst starting pitchers in the league.

The fact is, the Rockies have shown that their move to ship Jimenez off was the right one. In fact, it may have been a half season too late. However, the fact that they got four players back, two of which were the previous first round draft picks of the Indians, shows that the Rockies were the winners in that trade, regardless of how the two centerpieces, Pomeranz and White have turned out.

Another issue that might be in the Rockies favor is that they generally wait far too long to trade their prospects. They sit on them, hoping for them to hit their potential, before they finally give up after that prospect has lost the value that they once held in a trade.

This move, while a risk, is the Rockies moving on from players that aren't showing the promise that they need to be. It is a move that brings back value before someone who they clearly think isn't going to impress losses value and will only bring back a low-level minor leaguer.

The reality is, White was not going to be the pitcher who helped the Rockies be good again. He wasn't going to be the ace of their staff. If the Rockies realized that, does it really hurt them to make a move and try and bring value back to their big league roster?

Rockies fans have every right to be skeptical of every move the Rockies make. However, this move is not a move that should inspire anger from Rockies fans. This is a move that could end up being one of the better under the radar moves of the Rockies offseason.

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  1. I like the trade for Lopez.

  2. I don't like it. Giving up on pitching talent looking for the "ace", makes no sense. The need starting depth. I disagree with the evalution of White's stuff. He has it and is only 23. I agree he will not be an ace, but his stuff does show of 2-4 rotation material. Couldn't the Rockies use that???

  3. If you look at the Rox pitching, we have a number of guys that can be quality pitchers. The question marks are if DLR and Chacin can come back from injuries and be effective. With the signing of Jeff, I would like to think our top 3 in the rotation are pretty much set. With Juan, Drew, Christian, Josh and Daniel (just picked up rule 5) competing for the back end, and long reliever.

    I like the move, Deal Alex before his stock fell off, and we needed some help in the back end. We also have 3 guys now that could potentially be a closer, or have shutdown closer stuff.