Should the Rockies trade for an arm or a bat at the MLB deadline?
Kiz: It’s on. The National League playoff race has begun in earnest. There are five spots available. The Dodgers and Nationals are locks for two of the berths. The remaining three will almost certainly be claimed by these five teams: Brewers, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Cardinals. If Colorado doesn’t want to be left out of the October fun, general manager Jeff Bridich needs to make a trade by July 31.
Groke: Now’s the time, Kiz. It’s not time to trade the future for a rental, mind you. But the Rockies are in a solid position for a postseason spot, and a smart trade for help this season and, ideally, next, could go a long way to helping turn around a seven-year playoff drought (with just one winning season). One big hitch though: This trade season has turned into a seller’s market. Also-ran teams might be content waiting until the winter to unload their assets.
Kiz: The Rockies are legit as playoff contenders. But here’s the rub: The Dodgers are so strong that anybody else in the NL will have to get lucky to keep L.A. out of the World Series. Colorado has to make a push for that wild-card play-in game. But Bridich would be foolish to mortgage the farm to do it. (Look at me, all grown up, arguing on behalf of restraint.)
Groke: The key to trades: You cannot focus on what you’re giving up, only on what you get. And if what you get makes you better, go for it. A proven hitter like Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna would make an immediate splash. He’s hitting .319 this season, and his .943 OPS would rank second among Rockies, behind only Charlie Blackmon. Ozuna is under contract for two more seasons. And the Marlins are weird enough to actually consider trading him.
Kiz: Colorado needs another arm in the bullpen. Not next week. Right now. Left-handed Orioles closer Zach Britton is a nice dream. But his price point, both in salary ($11.4 million) and prospects (say goodbye, Riley Pint) is too rich for Colorado’s blood. Righty A.J. Ramos of Miami might be a more reasonable alternative. But my choice is a short-term rental with Philadelphia’s Pat Neshek, a 36-year-old, side-arming, baseballcard-collecting veteran who won’t cost Bridich an arm and a leg.
Groke: Well, if you’re going to be all responsible and thoughtful, then Neshek is a great idea. His funky delivery could play well in Colorado’s bullpen, throwing off the rhythm of an opposing lineup at Coors Field. And the Rockies’ relief corps is their most pressing need. I get it. But wow, imagine the possibilities of a dude like Ozuna (23 homers this season) hitting behind Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, and Nolan Arenado. Dream big.
Pat Neshek, left, of the Philadelphia Phillies proved his value in the recent All-Star Game by throwing a scoreless inning. Marcell Ozuna, right, of the Miami Marlins has already matched his career high of 23 home runs.