The Rockies offense is poised to be among the best in baseball, but the team is dragged down by their weak starting rotation. Could they look to deal a catcher to help bolster their pitching?
The Colorado Rockies rotation needs help. It was the worst in the National League in 2012, with a 5.81 ERA. A few of the team’s promising young arms should do better this season, but the team did very little to improve on this weakness over the winter. They could still make a move, however and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, believes that trading a catcher might be the answer.
The Rockies have four catchers in their camp right now. Wilin Rosario, who turns 24 today, was the team’s primary catcher last season and he should remain so in 2013. He was backed up by veteran Ramon Hernandez last year, but the Rockies have utility man Jordan Pacheco, who came up as a catcher, but played third and first base last season and non-roster invitee Yorvit Torrealba, so Hernandez could be a prime trade chip.
The 36 year old veteran is coming off of a down year, hitting just .217/.247/.353 as the back up with Colorado last season. His defense is highly regarded and he has a career batting line of .264/.327/.417, so a team in need of catching depth could certainly be interested in acquiring him. Teams do not typically trade quality starters for catching depth, however. Hernandez is in the final year of a tow year deal that will pay him $3.2M this season as well. He could help net them a veteran arm, if a pitching-rich team like the Dodgers wanted some insurance, but that is probably a long shot for Colorado. There are team, like the Yankees, that could use help behind the plate, but few teams have arms to spare for a player like Hernandez.
If the Rockies were to consider dealing Rosario or Pacheco, they would almost certainly receive better offers. Both players are under team control through 2018 and both have significant offensive upside. However, Rosario is not yet a strong defender and Pacheco is a stretch as an everyday backstop.
Rosenthal notes that the Rockies offense is full of potential and the team has depth at nearly every position, but there are few players who would command a significant return that the Rockies would also be willing to part with. The Rockies may be looking to deal for pitching, but it is unclear how much they can offer to make a real upgrade.