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Inbox: Will top prospects be dealt at Deadline?

Beat reporter Thomas Harding answers questions
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- The idea that the Rockies are expected to be a buyer at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has fans excited. Here are the questions in this week's Edward Jones Beat Reporter's Inbox.

I saw a rumor about AJ Ramos who I love. Is that a rumor that could be happening? @Goooorox22 

DENVER -- The idea that the Rockies are expected to be a buyer at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has fans excited. Here are the questions in this week's Edward Jones Beat Reporter's Inbox.

I saw a rumor about AJ Ramos who I love. Is that a rumor that could be happening? @Goooorox22 

Tweet from @Goooorox22: @harding_at_mlb i saw a rumor about A.J. Ramos who i love. Is that a rumor that could be happening

The Rockies are operating quietly, but the feeling in the industry is that they're seeking relief help, possibly more than one arm. Ramos is one of several late-game relievers -- closers or primary setup men -- connected to the Rockies. 

:: Submit a question to the Rockies Inbox ::

Expect that list to grow as teams decide whether they are buyers or sellers. For example, if the Tigers choose to rebuild, lefty Justin Wilson could find himself dealt.

The price will be interesting. Last year, the Cubs sent the Yankees a package of four players, including shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, who at the time was the Majors' No. 24 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. He's now No. 2.

That being the case, and with multiple teams expected to seek late relief help, teams will come calling for either top Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers, currently at Double-A Hartford, or left-handed hitting infield prospect Ryan McMahon, at Triple-A Albuquerque. Both played in the SiriusXM Futures Game, and made outstanding defensive plays, Rodgers at second base and McMahon at first.

• Rockies duo flashes leather at Futures Game

McMahon's best position is third base, manned by perennial Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado. He has made strides at first base, and has shown promise at second. He also has had an outstanding start since being promoted from Hartford to Albuquerque. Rodgers was a first-round pick in 2014, who has done nothing but impress with the bat, and who has made strides at shortstop and second base.

Neither is considered expendable, but the Rockies might not have a choice. McMahon, who just may be forcing himself into the big leagues in the near future, would be more likely to be dealt.

Acquisition price for Reds All-Star shortstop Zack Cozart, Marlins All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna or Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez? I like the idea of trading for any of them according to @mike_petriello article. @btrain8 

Tweet from @BTrain8: Acquisition price for Cozart and Ozuna or Martinez? I like the idea of trading for any of them according to @mike_petriello article

In case you missed it, our Mike Petriello presented the case that the Rockies need a hitter more than a pitcher.

The idea has merit, but two factors work against it.

• The year-long struggles of righty Adam Ottavino and the inconsistency that lefty Mike Dunn has shown since an early-season back injury, indicate that they need relief help more. Even with those two, it would be smart to go into the playoffs -- where games tend to be low-scoring -- with a beefed-up bullpen.

• Teams tend to trade bats for arms, and if that's the case the Rockies should say no. The offense has lagged, but the Rockies have put themselves in position for the second National League Wild Card -- by 7 1/2 games -- by getting good-enough efforts from seven starting pitchers. The number should grow to eight real soon, provided Chad Bettis' return from testicular cancer continues as it has.

Between developing their own pitchers and trading for them (not dealing their own), the Rockies have depth, not just for now, but for years to come. Other than Tyler Chatwood, who will be a free agent after this season, the soonest a starter will become a free agent is Bettis in 2021. They have to trust that they'll be competitive at least until then, so it wouldn't make much sense to deal starter depth that could fuel a few years of playoff runs.

Once outfielder David Dahl and Bettis come back, who goes down to Triple-A? @Kent808Duck

Tweet from @Kent808Duck: Once Dahl and Bettis comes back, who goes down to AAA

Video: Chad Bettis discusses simulated game, rehab progress

Since Dahl, who had a stress reaction in the sixth rib, began rehab Wednesday at Class A Advanced Lancaster and Bettis made his first start for Double-A Hartford on Thursday, there will be plenty of time for results and possible injuries in the interim to determine that. Outfielder first baseman Ian Desmond's return from a right calf strain should happen before the Rockies have to deal with either Dahl or Bettis returning.

Dahl gets a maximum of 20 days, Bettis a max of 30. And whatever move the Rockies make won't be for long. Don't forget, rosters expand to 40 on Sept. 1.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

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