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2009 Trade Deadline Preview: Colorado Rockies

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Buyers or sellers?

The Rockies looked like they were destined to be sellers when they were struggling earlier in the season. But since the firing of Clint Hurdle the team has turned things around and they are now tied with the GIants for the Wildcard lead at 52-44. The Rockies will be buyers at the deadline if they make any more moves, although they have already traded for Rafael Betancourt to try to upgrade their bullpen.

Short-term need

The Rockies have gotten fairly solid production around the diamond. Their outfield hasn't been great but given th Rockies reliance on young, homegrown players they don't figure to trade for an upgrade there. The infield has been good enough that they don't need trade for another infielder.

The rotation has been fantastic, ranking tops in the National League in WAR (wins above replacement). The bullpen has been solid too but it seems that management still wants to add more arms there. They traded for Rafael Betancourt and called up top prospect Jhoulys Chacin to help the 'pen, but another trade or two would really make it a team strength. Manny Corpas is out until at least September, but he hasn't been very effective anyways. The team also signed reliever Matt Herges a week or so ago. Herges was great for the team in '07 but hasn't been good since.

Long-term need

Most of the Rockies position players are young and under team control for years to come so they don't have too many positional needs. Clint Barmes could be replaced at second base but the Rockies do have a few quality prospects who could take over there in the next few years. Eventually Todd Helton will need to be replaced but there's no telling when that will be. The young outfield of Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Seth Smith should be quite good a couple years from now.

Aaron Cook, Jason Marquis and Jorge de la Rosa are all near free agency and may need to be replaced. Luckily, the team has Jhoulys Chacin and Franklin Morales among a bundle of possible replacements to fill in. Their rotation should have no shortage of candidates for quite some time. The only impact reliever near free agency is Houston Street, whose contract is up after 2010. The club should look for possible late inning relievers in the meantime.

Big leaguers on the market?

Because the Rockies are still contending they don't figure to trade many players currently in the big leagues. Their top prospects should be strictly off limits unless they change their minds and decide they can add a Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. The one player who the club would willingly get rid of is Garrett Atkins, whose $7 million salary doesn't match his meager production. Unless they take on another bad contract though there shouldn't be any takers for him.

Minor league strength

The Rockies farm system is unheralded but actually fairly deep. It really needs to be because of the organizational philosophy to test their young players and give them important roles with the big club. However, now that Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez are both in the majors the club lacks impact position players. They do have catching depth (Wilin Rosario and Michael McKenry) and some talented middle infielders, but luckily they have good starters at the up-the-middle positions so impact players aren't really needed.

The pitching has lots of right-handers who should fill roles for the team in the near future. The previously mentioned Jhoulys Chacin has a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation arm but most of the rest of the group's ceiling isn't as high. One arm to watch is Christian Friedrich, who is at the High-A level but could rise quickly.

Take on short-term money to win?

The Rockies don't figure to be able to add any huge contracts to their team. General manager Dan O'Dowd said adding Roy Halladay would be "financially devastating" so a player of his caliber is mostly out of the question. They should be able to take on a lesser player or two if need be.

For more coverage of the Rockies, check out Purple Row.