Seven of the eight upper-echelon clubs in the National League made significant deals before the trading deadline Tuesday.
The Rockies, who needed a quality left-handed late-inning reliever and possibly a veteran starter, instead acquired right-handed reliever Seunghwan Oh.
At the start of deadline day, the Rockies’ record was tied for 12th overall in Major League Baseball, and seventh best in the National League, third in the West Division and fourth in the wild-card race.
According to fawning followers, the Rox are favored to reach the postseason because of their July record — 16-6 before Tuesday night’s game in St. Louis, and they should be able to leapfrog both the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers have added all-world shortstop-third baseman Manny Machado and, on Tuesday afternoon, second baseman Brian Dozier, and the Diamondbacks have traded for infielder Eduardo Escobar and, on Tuesday, relief pitchers Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman. MLB.com projects the Rockies have a 37.7 percent chance of winning the NL West and a 25.3 chance of being in the one wild-card game.
The Braves, the Phillies, the Cubs, the Brewers and even the unforeseen and forsaken Pirates of Clint Hurdle pulled off meaningful swaps that they think will improve their lots in life.
On Tuesday the Rockies stood still.
But, then, Jeff Bridich and Dick Monfort are the smartest baseball men in the room, in Colorado and, apparently, in baseball.
Their prospects are precious puppies who must be protected and envisaged as future stars in the game. However, to get Oh, they did surrender outfielder Forrest Wall, drafted 35th overall (in the compensatory round) of 2014, and first baseman Chad Spanberger, a seven-round selection in 2017 — and the illustrious player to be named later. Those three must not be so prized.
It is well to remember that from 2008-2015, the Rockies drafted more than 300 players, and fewer than 5 percent of those selected have become impactful players with the team as now constructed.
Can’t-misses become no-can-dos. Most prospects are suspect.
Let’s hear from an authoritative voice on deadline trades:
“I would say (the trade deadline) is just as important as the offseason. The work you put into the offseason allows you on July 31 to have a chance to win. But the reality is that the potential trades you have the opportunity to make (in July) puts your club squarely in the hunt to win in October.”
That quote was attributed to Dan O’Dowd in an interview with Omnisport, a digital sports media outlet. O’Dowd, of course, was the Rox previous general manager, who rarely made any deals at the deadline. He was Bridich’s mentor and Monfort’s confidante.
According to assorted reports, the Rockies were involved in anywhere from 10 to 832 possible trade talks. But they obviously were outbid or didn’t want to give in and up on minor-leaguers, as others were willing to do.
But they did get Oh, who certainly can help the Rox rotation and the $100 million bullpen. The staff ranks last in baseball in runs permitted in the seventh inning.
Oh, after a celebrated career in South Korea, has compiled 41 saves and a 2.77 ERA in three years in the United States. But the Cardinals let him go, and the Blue Jays signed him for $1.75 million. The Rockies will pay him about a mil for two months.
But Monfort can afford that measly baseball amount, given that the Rockies are sixth overall in baseball attendance (1.9-plus million) and the Rox roll in money.
The Rockies also signed oldie-but-former-goodie Matt Holliday, a hero in 2007 who was traded for Carlos Gonzalez.
Holliday spent last year with the Yankees, but nobody was interested this season. Holliday owns a career .299 batting average, with 314 home runs in 14 seasons. Kudos on this one. Holliday will be the primary late pinch-hitter in September, when the Rockies will need all hands on deck, in the batter’s box, on the mound and in the field.
Of the Rox remaining 56 games, 44 games are against teams around or above .500, and 30 are vs. division teams.
Should the Rockies have made a Tuesday trade?
Or was it no big deal?
Two months to go and know.