Colorado Rockies pitchers that could or should be traded

Apr 19, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Daniel Bard (52) celebrates defeating the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, we took a look at some veteran position players for the Colorado Rockies who are having decent seasons, are on short contracts, and could be intriguing to other teams in MLB coming up on the trade deadline in just a few weeks.

There are also several pitchers who fit into this category but, of course, this is a bit trickier when we are dealing with the team at 20th and Blake.

As you well know but is worth reiterating, the Rockies have an extremely difficult time acquiring quality pitching via free agency or trade. They haven’t had overwhelming success through the draft-and-develop process either, but it is the place where they have managed to produce most of their best pitchers over the years.

Regardless of where they came from, though, it is simply the case that this team needs to hoard pitching to a ridiculous extent, hanging onto every arm that has potential and wants to be here. It’s an incredibly tight Goldilocks Zone and so all of that must be kept in mind as we examine each of the potential relievers and one starter that the Colorado club should consider trading.

Alex Colome

Let’s begin with the player the team almost certainly should move on from without much concern for negative consequences. 

Make no mistake, Colome has been fantastic this season, pitching 31 innings to a 2.61 ERA and an ERA+ of 183, and the Rockies already bad bullpen would be made immediately much worse by his departure but that is likely to happen one way or the other.

He’s on a one-year, $4.1 million contract and after putting up such good numbers at Coors Field, may price himself out of the Rockies range this offseason, Also, at 33 years of age and with declining velocity and strikeout numbers, Colorado would be wise to take advantage of this timing and not necessarily expect him to be the same pitcher moving forward. 

Pretty much every contending team can use bullpen help and his current performance and resume make Colome a very attractive choice. The Rockies might be able to get something pretty solid in return despite the fact that relievers don’t typically net a ton. 

It would be a shrewd and well-executed move if GM Bill Schmidt can turn this relatively low-hype offseason signing into a nice piece for this team’s future.

Daniel Bard

Almost all of the same principles apply to the conversation on Bard with a few key differences.

The biggest one may well be that it’s hard to say exactly what the aging curve should look like for a 37-year-old who missed six-plus seasons of time and is still sitting on 99 MPH. In any other context, you trade the aging vet who is on an expiring deal and pitching better than he ever has in his life.

But it could still be the case that the Rockies should be looking at re-signing Bard, not trading him, to anchor the bullpen for the next few years.

He should be an All-Star this year but likely won’t be. He has a 203 ERA+ over 30.2 IP and has collected 16 saves. Given the extraordinary quality of his stuff right now, it is again quite possible that the Rockies could demand a high price for his services. And get it.

But the acquiring team will need to ask themselves these questions about his age and past as well. It’s also possible that Colorado could trade him, get a decent return, and then re-sign him in the offseason but this rarely happens.

Chad Kuhl

It’s rare the Rockies are in a position where trading a quality starting pitcher is in any way a good idea. Not only that, Kuhl has been their best and most consistent starter all year long. But, like with Colome and Bard, his contract is up at the end of the season and he may well be off to greener pastures no matter what.

Similarly to the Bard situation, it is worth exploring whether or not Kuhl could be a part of this team’s future (his ability to hang with Coors Field is intriguing) but if they aren’t sure they can secure that, it makes sense to move him for some future pieces.

His 124 ERA+ in 82.1 IP won’t get Colorado a top prospect for a rental but it could absolutely land them an impact player, preferably a younger pitcher on a longer deal.

Trading any, or certainly all three, of these players would make the Rockies much worse for the rest of 2022 but if executed properly could help make them much better as soon as 2023. 

Depth has always been an issue for this club and a philosophy against moving from core players has often cost the Rockies a chance at replenishing their well of talent.

The good news on this front is that the system was being underrated throughout the pandemic years when nobody was scouting games in person and now that we are back to normal (from a baseball standpoint) the farm system has four Top 100 prospects and is steadily improving through internal means.

But this is a unique opportunity for the Rockies to capitalize on a moment where they have these players that other teams want, that likely aren’t a part of their long-term plans, but could get them help they will need for righting the ship.

We shouldn’t expect them to suddenly become wheelers and dealers like the A’s or Rays but don’t be shocked if this is the most activity we have seen out of the Rockies at the trade deadline in a long time.

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