Rockies face uncertain path following Deadline
Colorado quiet after sending Tulowitzki to Toronto
ST. LOUIS -- Having dealt shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays in a major deal Monday, the Rockies let the final four days leading to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline pass without another move. That means several questions remain as the Rockies attempt to set their future course.
Sending Tulowitzki and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto allowed the Rockies to add to their depth of pitching prospects. Righty Miguel Castro made his debut with the Blue Jays earlier in the year and has a power arm that could be used in starting or relief (he's in the Triple-A Albuquerque bullpen). Righty Jeff Hoffman, the ninth overall pick in 2014, is at Double-A and gives the Rockies a sorely needed power starter who is not far from the Majors.
However, there remain large-salary players theoretically blocking prospects who could be part of the future and creating payroll issues. But there is time to address the issues, either before season's end through post-Deadline deals or even in the winter.
In a conference call with media Friday, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said no other pre-Deadline deal was made because "coming up with our own ideas, but also listening to other ideas, there just wasn't anything that was something that was obvious that we should do."
The $37 million that right fielder Carlos Gonzalez is owed over the next two seasons, and the Rockies' insistence on a heavy return of prospects in a deal, prevented a trade. However, as long as a player passes through waivers, he can be dealt. The situation will play out over the next month, since a player has to be acquired before Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason with his new club.
In 2004, the Rockies traded outfielder Larry Walker to the Cardinals in a post-Deadline deal. The return was minimal, but the team saved on a portion of Walker's salary and used the money to sign drafted outfielder Dexter Fowler.
Bridich said at the start of the week that teams weren't "knocking down the door" for Gonzalez. On Friday, he said interest "picked up a little bit" for Gonzalez, who has been hot.
Bridich said the Rockies didn't have "a huge desire internally" to unload Gonzalez and said, given what the Rockies wanted in return and what other teams were willing to do, "It can be tough to find dance partners."
The Rockies also have to decide how they'll proceed with shortstop Jose Reyes, who came in the Tulowitzki trade and brings a $48-million commitment over the next two years. Given what was owed Tulowitzki through 2020, the Rockies saved $50 million, but in the next two years Reyes actually will make $8 million more than Tulowitzki.
"He's our starting shortstop right now at the Major League level and that's how we're going to proceed," Bridich said. "If something changes there, it changes. We're really happy with the addition and he's been well-received."
The Rockies' future course bears watching.
Since their last winning season of 2010, the Rockies have had strong offensive players when healthy, but the pitching has been young and injured.
Behind lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who will be in the last year of a two-year, $25-million deal, are questions of youth. Righty starters Eddie Butler and Chad Bettis, and lefty Chris Rusin are cutting their teeth this year. Righty starters Jon Gray and Hoffman have yet to make their Major League debuts, and lefty Tyler Anderson hopes to shake years of injury and figure in the Major League picture. Health also is an issue. Righty starters Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles, and closer Adam Ottavino will be returning from significant injuries.
If there are no moves involving Gonzalez or Reyes or any position players, infield prospects Trevor Story and Cristhian Adames -- both playing well at Triple-A Albuquerque -- and outfield prospects Kyle Parker at Albuquerque and David Dahl at Double-A New Britain are depth pieces, as opposed to players who will get regular Major League opportunities. It would be an opposite approach to the one the Rockies figure to use with their pitchers next year
Bridich refused to be pinned down on when he thinks the Rockies will be competitive. While the pitching suggests the team's window for contending is later than 2016, the Rockies are holding hope that it all will come together quickly.
"Can we marry that wave of pitching with some of the young talent on offense and start to be competitive and start to play meaningful games in August and September?" Bridich said. "That was the goal this year. Can we do that next year if things work out? I do believe that we can."