The Colorado Rockies made a big move on Wednesday, signing outfielder Ian Desmond to a five-year contract. Furthermore, Ken Rosenthal of Fox reports that they’re still in on slugger Mark Trumbo, who played most of the last two years in the corner outfield.
The thing is, the Rockies already had three outfielders before the day started: Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and top prospect David Dahl, who debuted last summer. They still have Gerardo Parra, too, and now they have Desmond. As it is, someone would presumably have to play 1B. According to Rosenthal, the plan to sign Trumbo would involve trading an outfielder, with Trumbo then moving back to 1B.
Hey, the A’s need an outfielder! And all these guys are lefty hitters, which they also need! Let’s speculate on whether the two teams might be able to match up. These scenarios are under the assumption that the Rockies sign Trumbo. Note that there has been absolutely no public connection between the A’s and Rockies and we’re just spitballing here.
Carlos Gonzalez: In the previously linked tweet, Rosenthal mentions the 31-year-old CarGo as a trade candidate. He’s a $20 million one-year rental, and his bat isn’t what it used to be — his OPS+ over the last two years is 113, albeit with 65 total homers. He’s a corner outfielder now, but his defense there is still solid.
What would you give up? Ehh. He’s still a good player, don’t get me wrong, but is he the right fit since he doesn’t help beyond 2017? I’d be into it if it was more of a rearranging of deck chairs; that is, the A’s also send some salary over. The Rockies could use a utility infielder and everyone can use an extra reliever, so start with Jed Lowrie and John Axford as the “salary balancing” portion of the deal (they’re combining for $12 million next year). I’d give up another minor piece to make it worth their while — how about a groundball pitching prospect like Paul Blackburn or Dylan Covey?
I don’t know if the Rockies would do that, but I think they should consider it. It frees up a few bucks after two big signings, it fills a couple weak spots with decent veterans, and it at least picks up one prospect. Perhaps they’ll get better offers or bigger prospects, but if they don’t and they need to clear out a body then I think this is a productive way to do it.
If the A’s could get it done for that package, then sure, why not? But I’m not desperate to go after this particular fish.
Charlie Blackmon: We’re getting warmer. He’s got two years of team control, and he has experience in CF, though he’s below-average there. He’s coming off a better offensive season than CarGo, but it was by far a career year. Still, he has a 111 OPS+ over the last four seasons, and he does a bit of everything — contact, on-base ability, some power, and even basestealing. Rosenthal lists him as a trade candidate as well.
What would you give up? I still wouldn’t go nuts for a guy I only have through 2018, but he’ll surely be more expensive than CarGo. My instinct is that Blackmon will probably require more than I think the A’s should give for a short-term player, especially one who doesn’t count CF defense among his strengths.
I guess I would give roughly what I offered in my last post for Jarrod Dyson, which was a late-inning reliever (Ryan Madson) and a young pitcher I’m not attached to (Raul Alcantara). I’d even upgrade Alcantara to Jesse Hahn, though I think it would be funny to swap him out for Dillon Overton instead, just to see how many dingers we could create. You know, for science. But either way, can’t the Rockies find a better offer than that elsewhere?
David Dahl: Now we’re in the land of hot takes, so get out your sunglasses! Let’s connect some dots. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! mentions that the Rockies would “like to get a front-of-rotation-type pitcher, too, thru trade.” The A’s have a front-of-rotation-type pitcher named Sonny Gray! And he’s potentially available, for the right price! He’s also cheap and under team control for three years.
Dahl is an outfielder who played mostly CF in the minors. He hit well all the way up the system, entered 2016 as a top-50 prospect, and made a strong midseason debut in the bigs. He’ll be 23 next season. He even hits lefty! There’s no indication he’s available, but if the Rockies are serious about getting a top pitcher then they’ll have to give something up. With two big new hitters under long-term contract (Desmond, Trumbo), and a cheap ace in the rotation, they could better afford to spare a cheap young hitter.
What would you give up? Would Dahl be a good centerpiece in a deal for Sonny? Would it require another big piece, or just some secondary prospects? I’ll let us duke this one out in the comments.
For reference, remember that Chris Sale just went for IF Yoan Moncada (No. 1 prospect in baseball, already debuted), RHP Michael Kopech (Top 50 prospect), plus two more youngsters. The Nats were reportedly willing to give up two Top 10 overall prospects (Lucas Giolito, Victor Robles) and another Top 50 (Reynaldo Lopez). Sonny won’t fetch as much as Sale did, but clearly Dahl would still only be a starting point.
Note: Gerardo Parra didn’t get a section because he was literally the worst player in MLB last year. His negative-2.8 bWAR was dead last, and his negative-1.8 fWAR was second only to Alexei Ramirez ... but Alexei got at least 25% more playing time to rack up his damage. And Parra still costs nearly $20 million over the next two years. No thanks.