DENVER -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline passed Tuesday without the Rockies making a last-minute move, which means they will count on the moves of the winter -- not all of which have worked so far -- and last week's deal for righty reliever Seunghwan Oh to pan out to keep
DENVER -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline passed Tuesday without the Rockies making a last-minute move, which means they will count on the moves of the winter -- not all of which have worked so far -- and last week's deal for righty reliever Seunghwan Oh to pan out to keep the team in the postseason race.
If Deadline-period activity is the goal, the Rockies fell far behind the Dodgers, who obtained a possible game-changer in infielder Manny Machado, second baseman James Dozier and relief pitcher John Axford, and the D-backs, who obtained switch-hitting infielder Eduardo Escobar and relief pitchers Matt Andriese, Jake Diekman and Brad Ziegler while adding more than $6 million to the payroll. But the actual goal is winning the National League West -- where the Rockies entered Tuesday trailing the first-place Dodgers by a game and the D-backs by a half-game.
Last week, when discussing the acquisition of Oh from the Blue Jays for Minor League outfielder Forrest Wall and first baseman Chad Spanberger, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich clearly stated that he wasn't going to play a game of GM see, GM do.
"In terms of the people involved, in terms of the money involved, in terms of the opportunity costs that are involved, up and down the organization, reactionary decision-making is really a very risky proposition to adhere to," Bridich said. "And so I think the other part of it is honest and accurate self-evaluation is critical."
But this is not to say Bridich spent the final hours leading to Tuesday's Deadline admiring his handiwork. Manager Bud Black said there was activity, but it didn't result in deals.
"I'm in St. Louis, our front-office staff is in Denver, and they've been busy, just like all other 29 teams," Black said. "A lot of times, things don't work out. You try awful hard to do things and they don't happen because there's not a match, there's not a fit, there's not a pathway."
The way the Rockies have operated this year serves as a window into why making a deal can be difficult. For example:
• Prospects and other low-service-time players such as Garrett Hampson, infielder Ryan McMahon, catcher Tom Murphy, and outfielder Noel Cuevas, David Dahl and Raimel Tapia all have had a hand in victories. Employing such players, who have been up and down between Triple-A and the Majors, saves payroll.
• Under that philosophy, Bridich said, "Once you're at the Double- and Triple-A levels, really for any organization, you're basically on the Major League radar. We tell our kids that. That's part of their reality, and we live by that, too. We don't forget that."
• That said, it would have taken a major haul for the Rockies to give up infielder Brendan Rodgers, the team's top prospect, according to MLB Pipeline; or righty Peter Lambert, ranked No. 2. Both are at Triple-A Albuquerque and, theoretically, could be counted upon at the end of this season.
So, what does all this mean?
The first onus is on the left side of the bullpen. Jake McGee, in the second year of a three-year, $27 million contract, has a 6.11 ERA after giving up a walk-off homer to the Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna in Monday night's 5-4 loss. Chris Rusin is on the disabled list with left foot plantar fasciitis and has a 6.81 ERA; his simulated game was moved from Tuesday to Wednesday because of a rainy afternoon. Mike Dunn has left A/C joint inflammation and isn't eligible to return until Sept. 5.
Righty Bryan Shaw has a solid history against lefties, but has not performed as well this year. As an indication of how difficult the situation is, righty Scott Oberg, already taxed Monday, was the choice to face Matt Carpenter in the seventh. Carpenter delivered a two-run, game-tying single.
"Those fellows have been around," Black said. "They know what this is about. They know their own personal expectations are a lot of times higher than what's on the outside."
Of course, deals can still occur. A player can be traded after going unclaimed on waivers, and if he is with his new team by Aug. 31 at 9:59 MT, he can participate in the postseason.
Veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez noted that the winning difference could come from veteran first baseman-outfielder Matthew Holliday, who was signed over the weekend to a Minor League deal, a prospect or a waiver acquisition. Gonzalez, who noted the Astros won it all after getting pitcher Justin Verlander after the non-waiver Trade Deadline last season, is more interested in achievement than activity.
"Not every trade works the way you always plan it," Gonzalez said. "Some trades obviously will make you a World Series champion. Some other trades will make you a loser."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.