Time to Be Hones with Ourselves – Break-up the 2017 Rox for a Realistic Shot at the World Series in 2018-2020

Yes…this is me saying this. So hold on to your ball cap.

Okay, the purple-tinted glasses are off. We have the date for the players on this current roster. And to quote one of my favorite shows as a kid (and unwatchable as an adult) The Six Million Dollar Man (in the MLB that is what, Daniel Descalso these days?), we can rebuilt it. We can make them faster, stronger, and more able to win divisions.

 

But for me, that means tearing it down.

 

Yes, the Rox are 5.5 games up in the 2nd Wild Card race and .5 games behind the Dbacks (how have them played 3 games more than the Dbacks at this point in the season?). The Wild Card teams have had great success in the history of the playoffs in the new era, but remember that you don’t get a home date for the 2nd Wild Card and you don’t have much of a chance thanks to fatigue and the inability to set your rotation to win the 2nd round. Additionally, the Cubs and Brewers are playing good baseball and they have a real chance to overtake the Rox. After all, you can’t play the Padres forever. So my perspective is to…do what the Yanks did last year and continue the build towards sustained competitive baseball in the future.

 

And that means, gulp, changes have to be made. I would be selling…not adding this period, unless I get players with control in at least 2018 and preferably 2019.

 

A few facts. Carlos Gonzalez is not playing here in 2018. Heck, as much as I am a CarGo fan, he hasn’t really played here this year (though he came up big in the middle game of the Padres series). Greg Holland…is not coming back in 2018 (he will not take his option but will hit the open market and get at least 4 years and $65-70 million (and the Rox can’t pay that for a closer). After next season DJ and Blackmon are free-agents. Blackmon is going to be 32, and as the Royals have found out with the very good Alex Gordan, this is the age when defensive-plus, solid to very good outfielders fade. DJ will still be on the plus side of 30, but as the tallest 2nd baseman in history, he is facing an unknown future as regards his legs and body. Additionally good-news story Tyler Chatwood will be a free agent. And it will be the last year for the strange contract of one Gerardo Parra.

 

Down on the farm you have a slew of players who are ready to play in the bigs. Some will fail, but not all. I am betting not most. Right now several of them have their paths blocked by other players. They could be plus trade-bait in the Rox attempts to secure relievers and starting pitching. So they either need to go or they need to play. But sitting at AAA in the PCL isn’t teaching them much. So, in that light, here goes my suggestions.

 

  1. Even though the market isn’t looking for 2nd basemen, it is time to trade DJ. Teams will get an additional year. Plus DJ can play 3rd and probably move back to SS. His excellent bat and Gold Glove level of defense would be desired by at least some of the playoff teams. Could they get back what the Rays got for Logan Forsythe? Possibly. But you have to clear space for Ryan McMahon, who has made both AA and AAA look easy this year. As we saw last year with Murphy, leaving players at AAA when they have proven themselves hurts development.
  2. DFA Carlos Gonzalez. Yes, I said that. It means eating most of $10 million left on his contract but, it is time. I would let him continue to play until David Dahl is healthy and showing his swing again, but with Dahl, there is no room for him in the outfield. Additionally Ramiel Tapia has proven, he belongs. His defense isn’t the level of CarGo…yet…but when you have two players who are blocked, you are in trouble. And yes, two months of real baseball will help those players.
  3. In a market where JD Martinez fetched a nice return selling Gerardo Parra should be possible. The Rox can even agree to pay half of next year’s salary. Parra has been great this year, especially the weeks leading up to his stint on the DL but also since his return. He is as valuable as a trade chip as he ever will be, he plays plus defense still, and he’s a lefty who has shown surprising pop this year. He would help a number of teams, either as a left fielder or a swing-man outfielder. Plus, he can play first base (well…he has, but calling it first base play is being kind). His leaving opens up a spot for the second of Dahl or Tapia. These guys need to play. And of course the 4th outfielder is increasingly suspect signee Ian Desmond (I must admit, after seeing a lot of positive with Desmond I have become more and more concerned he is both a block to other players and at best a replacement level player where ever he plays…this was a bad signing I am afraid and he’s got several more years to block other players). These moves might also provide chances for non-prospect but intriguing players like Patterson and Tauchman (if they are not part of trades).
  4. Move Chatwood to the pen. The Roockies are not as great as they were through mid-June, but you have Tyler Anderson coming back soon, and he will take a slot in the rotation alongside Gray, Marquez, Senzatela, Freeland, and Hoffman. Yes, they will need to rest those guys but there are more off-days in the 2nd half so skipping a turn is possible. If Chatwood pitches well out of the bullpen by mid-August he could be moved to a contender since I doubt he would be blocked in waivers. What he returns is dependent on his performance but right now, he is clearly the worst starter of the bunch.
  5. This is the big one. Trade Greg Holland. As it stands now, they will lose him for just a compensatory pick in the draft since they qualify for the compensatory picks and he will sign a deal over $50 million. Look, he’s been great. But the fact is that this team isn’t likely to go deep into the playoffs. It is time to look at other options in that slot. Granted, Jake McGee is gone after the season as well (have they talked contracts?), but he would give you 90% of Holland. One of the two should be traded and use the next two months to challenge guys like Oberg, Diaz and even Estevez to see what they got. Additionally, you have James Farris you want to see and the lefty reliever Howard and possibly others. But in this market, even with Washington off the board, Holland can return a nice player or two.

 

So…that is my suggestion. This team is not going to make the playoffs. And if that is the case, reload the farm system, start seeing for real what the young guys can do, and see if maybe you can contend with the team you will have in 2018. In saying this I am not against the Rox going out and getting a Zach Britton or a Ramos. If you can do it, great. This is about 2018 and the future. Trading away a DJ and a Holland will speed-up what even Fan-Graphs see as an eventual collapse to mean this year. But in 2018, the Rox should be experienced enough, fast enough, and powerful enough to take on the Dodgers, who I personally believe will with the World Series over the Boston Red Sox in 6 games.

 

That is my suggestion on July 19. Of course, it is possible that I was too close to some guys in the park where I wrote this who were smoking something that had this awful and weird smell. So maybe…it is the drugs speaking. But, what do you say? If we end up on October 1 out of the playoffs, with our best young talent sitting in AAA doing zip to grow, and facing the pending loss of four important players in this off-season and the next, will this seem quite so drug-induced?

4 Comments

    • roxnsox

      July 20, 2017

      You make a pretty good theoretical case on most of this, Dr. C. I wouldn’t mind seeing some really bold moves by JB, even though it would be hard to see DJ leave. But #4 is the only realistic possibility. DFA Cargo? That would be a shock, even if it’s the brutally correct move. I suspect they might platoon him a lot. (Side note: after his 2-run double to the wall on Tuesday night, breaking the 4-4 tie, the crowd gave him a long loud standing ovation – me included. Say what you will, it was a very cool moment to see that support for an old favorite. It was definitely NOT a Bronx cheer 😉

      Agreed that the team will probably not go far into the playoffs, if they make it. But after 2007 – I’ve said it before, please forgive me for repeating myself – I will never say never!

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      July 20, 2017

      Whoa, BB is looking at you with a stern face ready to kick dirt on your shoes. He is no WW and he will make the team better and good enough for the playoffs this year. Then you can move DJLM so Story can take over 2B when Brendan Rodgers comes up to play SS. Ryan McMahon will be playing 1B and David Dahl and Raimel Tapia will roam the OF along with Ian Desmond. A finally healthy Tom Murphy takes over 70% with Dom Nunez providing back up. The rotation will be awesome with Gray, Hoffman, Freeland, Riley Pint, Ryan Castellani, Peter Lambert, Marquez, and Senza. The rest of the SPs can go to the pen. Jairo Diaz will be 2 years past TJ and become closer. Senza had a brief look at relief pitching a couple of weeks ago and his velo went up.

      So let’s get into the WC this year in 2017 with what we have now plus bullpen improvement via trade (AJ Ramos?). Then unleash the prospects in 2018 and 2019.

      Don’t forget to brush the home plate after BB kicked some dirt on you Dr. C. LOL.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      July 21, 2017

      Doctor C – I find myself somewhere between your suggestions and Roxnsox and RMH. I’ve been saying for years that our contention window will be 2018-2022 with the current Farm System. We’ve gotten a little lucky and arrived 1 year early. I think we should prudently take advantage of our early arrival. By that I mean:

      1. Trade for assets that are controllable beyond this year.
      2. Don’t be afraid of cutting ties (and assuming the associated salary commitment) of players that have no future value and are blocking better players. Cargo once Dahl is ready. Lyles once Bettis returns and/or relief help is obtained via trade, and even Chatwood if need be.
      3. Regarding DJ and especially Holland, I think the Front Office should have a good handle on how realistic it will be to resign these guys. If Holland is giving off a good “resign” vibe, by all means keep him for the playoff run. But if he’s given signs that he’ll be going to the high bidder this off-season, then I think it’s entirely possible to trade him for multiple assets that can help now and in the future OR be flipped for such assets.

      A crazy, hypothetical example regarding Holland. What if the Red Sox offered their best Prospect – the 3B kid – Rafael Devers for Holland (keep in mind the Yanks are building the Uber Pen – so the Red Sox will be looking to at least somewhat mimic). Most people will respond “hell no – don’t do that because we’ve got Arenado, McMahon, yada, yada, yada.” But……..”what if” Devers was immediately flipped to the Reds for Raisel Iglesias. Iglesias is as good as Holland and controllable through 2021. In this scenario, you’ve replaced the current best Pen arm with an equal for August/September – but then you have him for 4 more years cost-controlled. Please note I said “crazy, hypothetical.” I’m not suggesting this will happen. But this type of thought process is necessary for the small/mid-market teams to be sustainable.

      My challenge to the Rox Front Office (and all small/mid-market Front Offices) is to think out of the box and always be looking several steps ahead.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      July 21, 2017

      Dr. C, 9 more games left in July, and (heaven forbid) they go 1-8 or something, I’m right there with you: get what you can for Holland (and maybe McGee? Reynolds?) at the deadline. But … not yet, and I hope not at all in 2017. The playoffs are a crapshoot. If this club gets a wildcard, about the worst you could do would be a 60% chance of losing in the play-in game. That’s a 40% chance of advancing! There’s no Clayton Kershaws out there, or even Madison Bumgarners on our likely wild card competitors. Greinke? Yeah, he’s good, but it’s not like he’s unhittable these days. And if you get past that play-in game, who knows. The playoffs are always a crapshoot. We had no business making it to the World Series in 2007 …

      So …. too soon. Starts like our 2017 start should not be squandered. And won’t be, barring a last week of July collapse. There’s still deals to be made though. You wouldn’t get much for Parra, but he’s a classic “strike while the iron is hot” opportunity. I now fully expect Dahl to be back, and Tapia has shown he belongs. RMH would hate this, but may I gently suggest that people look at what happened in the late stages of his career season in Milwaukee? He will come back down to earth soon, and I still believe it’s likely Cargo will outhit him over the balance of the season.

      Taking a step back, Dr. C., you’re clearly correct. Blackmon is getting to that time in his career. Nolan will be a difficult guy to re-sign. Cargo is gone. DJ probably shouldn’t be re-signed, if only because second baseman typically don’t age well and it’s hard to see his skill set and size aging well anyway — the typical move as he gets into his 30s would be to 3B, but he’s never had enough power to be a plus there. So I’m kind of hoping for a fun September (and at least part of October!), and then a real cold, analytical approach to where we stand this winter. As an aside: Bridich owes an awful lot to Greg Holland and Mark Reynolds. Without them, his free agent history so far would be: (1) Motte; (2) McGee; (3) Qualls; (4) Dunn; (5) Parra; (6) Amarista; (7) Desmond. Ouch.

      Reply

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