Playing GM is a mini article series, in which I, Alex Peters, play out my wildest dreams and (hypothetically) place myself in the beautiful golden throne that is the Boston Red Sox General Manager chair. Helping me will be another Baseball Correspondent at iSportsWeb, representing their team, as we hash out potential trades both small and mega, with the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching. Think of it as Model UN but with a luxury tax.
This time, in our last segment of the series, representing the Colorado Rockies: Sean Jensen
Alex: Alright Sean, before we dive into any trade talk, where do you see the Rockies as a team right now? With the loss of HOF-er Todd Helton and the trade of Dexter Fowler, it would seem to an outsider that the Rockies are entering a bit of a rebuilding period, especially coming after last year’s 74-88 season.
But the Rockies also have two bonafide superstars in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, who are smack-dab in the middle of their primes.
Basically, what gives? Are the Rockies buyers or sellers this winter?
Sean: The Colorado Rockies seem to be stuck in a rebuilding period since their postseason run in 2007. The loss of Todd Helton, although a Hall of Famer, will be less impactful than perceived, as the Todd Helton of the past two seasons was nothing but a shell of the Hall of Famer. An honest look at the Rockies and I see them finishing last in the NL West for the third consecutive year. Which means the last few years of rebuilding have failed.
Despite All-Star’s Tulo and CarGo, the Rox have not fixed their bullpen. With a decent starting rotation, a lot of pressure goes on their starters to go deep into games due to the lack of reliable relief pitching needed. They needed to jump on Brian Wilson or Grant Balfour. Offensively, the Rox came and went all of last season, and I anticipate it will be much of the same. The inconsistency was the result of injuries as much as anything else. Sure, Tulo and CarGo will hit, when healthy. But you can’t expect Michael Cuddyer to repeat his efforts this season. And outside of those three, without Dexter Fowler, where are you going to find offense?
With all of this, you would think the Rockies should be cheap buyers this winter, maybe looking to pick up more scrub names to fill voids in the lineup. Their front office won’t do much. They never do. If I ran the show, I’d be selling. It’s a year with little expectations and it will be the sixth straight year we are rebuilding. Finishing in the bottom of the NL West for the past few years is proof that we’re not moving in the right direction. We continue to try and resurrect the careers of fading starts (i.e. Roy Oswalt, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau). Tulo and CarGo, though valuable and faces of the franchise, are eating up a lot of money.
Case in point, I’d be selling this winter.
Alex: Well Sean, I’m glad you want to sell, because I’m here to buy.
I have to stress that there’s no real buzz around these two teams, the Boston Red Sox front office hasn’t considered this as far as we know, and that this would be pretty antithetical to the Red Sox ops’ plan of attack. This is a hypothetical practice and nothing more. With Matt Kemp-to-Boston rumors fading away, the Red Sox seem content moving forward with their current outfield. But I’m never content.
Because I want Carlos Gonzalez in Fenway. Badly.
So let’s say the Rockies were willing to deal. What would a package for him have to look like?
Sean: I had a feeling you might be interested. With the Yankees stealing Jacoby Ellsbury and freeing up a ridiculous amount of space by letting Cano walk, it doesn’t surprise me that rivalry would heat up again.
CarGo would fit well in Fenway. He’s beloved by our fanbase out here in Denver, and Denver’s not a baseball town. I have no doubt Red Sox Nation would love to see him.
Let’s be straightforward. CarGo is a top five outfielder. At just 28, he’s got great seasons ahead of him. The nagging finger injury of 2013 has been taken care of. The kid has .300 in 6 seasons with us. He’s a versatile outfielder, with speed on the bases, power at the plate, and he’d rack up doubles hitting to the porch in left.
You need him and I need pitching. I saw what Craig Breslow did for you guys last season. He’s a veteran lefty with a solid relief background. You want CarGo, we get Breslow. Junichi Tazawa really came into his own last season. And in the post-season he was the a critical piece in your team’s shutdown 7,8, and 9 innings. Throw him on the list. And I may be stretching, but if I’m losing CarGo I need someone to put back in his place. We really like Mike Carp. Big, strong, lefty, and young. He’s a young player with upside that would help us along our rebuilding road.
Alex: As much as it hurts to see Breslow and Carp go, who were pretty much the definition of dependability and very prolific in their limited roles, if I can get CarGo, you can have them.
You said it all. Carlos Gonzalez is a true five-tool player. Hits for power, average, uses the whole field, and doesn’t strike out a ton. His above-average glove may be wasted next to the Green Monster, but I’m not worried. His 20 HR/20 SB talent is just what the Sox want. He’s high character, has a Venezuelan compatriot in Felix Doubront, and has his best years ahead of him. I know the Sox are trying to stay away from mega-trades, but he is the best-case scenario of a target and will be a star no matter what position he plays.
I’m a little iffy on giving up the 27-year old Tazawa though. The Red Sox have Koji Uehara locking down the closer spot for another year, and just signed ex-Cards closer Edward Mujica, but Taz is the Sox closer of the future.
I don’t know if you could hear the rollercoaster go completely off the tracks all the way out there in Colorado, but the Red Sox closer situation was an absolute disaster this past year until Koji took the reins. Tazawa, despite a slightly unnerving tendency to give up the long ball, shows actual consistency.
But it seems to me the Rockies could afford to wait, and are willing to sacrifice some instant productivity for immense upside. Enter: Rubby De La Rosa. Rubby could develop into a 2/3 starter, but he’s also got the makings of a dynamite reliever. He can hit triple digits on his fastball, but also has a potentially plus changeup around 85mph. At 24 years old, he won’t be a free agent until 2018, a definite plus for the smaller-market Rockies.
So there’s my offer:
Boston receives OF Carlos Gonzalez
Colorado receives RHP Rubby De La Rosa, LHP Craig Breslow, OF Mike Carp
What do you think of that?
Sean: Very good. Denver will appreciate Breslow and Carp for their ability to close a game.
I’m glad we agree that Gonzalez is not only an extraordinary talent, but a great fit for your Sox. But I know we both know he’s worth more than a solid, veteran reliever and a young potential talent.
I very much agree that Uehara is the closer for now, but his age doesn’t give him long to fill that role. If you would like to keep Taz, then we’d need to see Henry Owens, a promising youngster in your farm system, and Burke Badenhop a veteran reliever who has spent time in Florida, Tampa Bay, and Milwaukee.
Three quality arms and a solid role player for a superstar.
Alex: Uh oh, Sean. Throwing in the Red Sox’ No. 1 pitching prospect is a riot-starting move, and Badenhop + Owens > Tazawa.
But we can find a compromise.
It would suck to see Badenhop go before he even plays in a Sox uniform, but if it means combo-ing him with a not as prized prospect then I’m okay. I have two suggestions.
One is Drake Britton. The lefty projects as a starter but was huge down the stretch for the Sox in long relief, with a 3.86 ERA in 21 appearances. He’s 24 years old and is under club control until 2020, while also the 12th ranked prospect in the deep Sox system.
The other is Bryce Brentz, who, while not a pitcher, could still be of use to the Rockies. The 24-year-old outfielder hit 17 HR last year in AAA, despite only playing in 82 games due to a freak injury (he pulled a Plaxico and accidentally shot himself in the leg). However, he’s fully recovered, and is the heir apparent to Shane Victorino in right field.
If you match one of those with Badenhop, along with Carp and Breslow, we may have a deal.
Sean: I had a feeling I might have reached a little too far into your farm system.
But, this compromise is one I think we can accept.
Although Bryce Brentz is a definite up-and-comer with loads of potential, we’ve got Charlie Blackmon groomed and ready to roam the outfield at Coors Field. And it’s no mystery to you or anyone else in the Majors that I’m in desperate need of backend pitching. Drake Britton and his ability to serve in relief while polishing his starting ability would be the perfect fit. Help the bullpen in the short-run and work his way into our rotation down the road.
Denver will be sad to see CarGo leave, and I sure will miss him. But the kid deserves a better market, and quite frankly, I can’t keep paying him and Tulo for last-place finishes.
You sir, have a deal. Badenhop, Carp, Breslow, and Britton for Carlos Gonzalez.
But what do you think? Is this a good deal for the Sox? A steal for the Indians? Leave your suggested deals in the comments, or any suggestions for other players across the league the Sox should pursue.
You can read more of Sean Jensen here at iSportsWeb.