As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
Colorado Rockies, 50-38, 3rd in the NL West
What moves have they made so far?
While they’ve utilized plenty of players this season, the Rockies haven’t made many significant moves this season. They traded right-handed reliever Miguel Castro, whom they designated for assignment in advance of Opening Day, to the Baltimore Orioles on April 7. They also released veteran reliever Chad Qualls earlier this week after designating him for assignment on June 30.
Are they buyers or sellers?
The Rockies will definitely be buyers at the deadline this year, particularly since they now have their backs against the wall in their bid to win the NL West after sitting in first place for most of the season’s first two months. It’s worth noting that while the Rockies will likely pursue external upgrades, they’re in position to receive two major in-house boosts down the stretch, as starter Chad Bettis is set to go out on a rehab assignment soon after fighting cancer earlier this year, and outfielder David Dahl is said to finally be pain-free after dealing with a stress reaction in his rib for the entirety of the season.
Who will they target?
The Rockies’ rotation has been surprisingly strong, with each of their five current starters plus long reliever Antonio Senzatela—who has made 15 starts this season—currently possessing an above-average ERA+. They’re likely to get Bettis back within the next month, so they should have enough pitching depth to make it through the stretch run. If they’re going to go all-out and try to win the World Series, though, perhaps they’ll make a surprise run at a proven ace.
While the Rockies’ budget constraints will prohibit them from being serious players for a highly-paid starter like Justin Verlander, they have a very strong and deep farm system, which could enable them to go after a younger, cost-controlled starter like Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman, or Jose Quintana. Since their roster is so young already, they can afford to give away prospects if it means bringing in an impact starter like any of those three.
With that said, it’s probably more likely that the Rockies will look for bullpen upgrades if they’re going to upgrade their pitching staff. Veterans Jordan Lyles and Adam Ottavino have struggled this season, so a guy like Joaquin Benoit or any of the veterans in the Athletics’ bullpen could be a good insurance option behind closer Greg Holland and setup man Jake McGee.
In terms of position players, the area where the Rockies could most use an upgrade is at shortstop, as Trevor Story has hit just .218/.301/.395 with 11 homers this season and been one of the league’s least-impressive defensive shortstops after enjoying a very successful rookie campaign in 2016. The most obvious player for the Rockies to pursue in order to solve that problem would be Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, who is hitting .315/.394/.542 with nine homers and has been one of the best defensive shortstops in the majors. He’s a free agent after the season, so the Rockies could bring him in as a rental and then plug Story back in as the starter until top prospect Brendan Rodgers arrives.
The most likely course of action involves the Rockies acquiring a middle reliever like Joaquin Benoit, John Axford, or Santiago Casilla to shore up their bullpen. But with the amount of effort that the Rockies have put into becoming a serious contender over the past year—most notably when they gave Ian Desmond the biggest contract in franchise history—it wouldn’t be a total shock to see them acquire an upper-echelon starting pitcher or an impactful position player like Cozart to provide an extra boost for their playoff push.