Two weeks ago, the Colorado Rockies appeared to be sure sellers come the July 31 MLB trade deadline. A June swoon had them sitting three games below .500 and eight games back of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks following a series loss to the San Francisco Giants on June 28.
Of course, just a few weeks before that, the Rockies sat atop the division, entering the month of June with the NL West lead for the first time in franchise history.
Given the turbulent season, it makes sense that Colorado has clawed its way back into contention for its first NL West crown. Following a 19-2 rout of the Diamondbacks Wednesday night, the Rockies have won nine of their last 12 games and sit 3.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers.
Now just over two weeks away from the deadline, it seems as if the Rockies and general manager Jeff Bridich have invested too much into the season to sit idly by and watch the division beef up. Here’s a look at three arms and one bat that could give Colorado a boost in the season’s second half.
RHP Joakim Soria, Chicago White Sox
Soria is quietly enjoying an impressive season in the bullpen for the White Sox. The 34-year-old reliever owns a 2.83 ERA and 11.1 K/9 rate while serving as the White Sox’ primary closer this season. He’s walked only nine batters on the year and has a park-adjusted ERA 44 percent better than the league average.
Jeff Bridich’s offseason spending in the bullpen has failed to produce close to the desired results. His $106 million gamble on relievers Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw has yielded the MLB’s third-worst bullpen with an ERA of 5.30. Adding another reliable arm to the back end of Colorado’s pen could shore up some of those problems, and a veteran like Soria with allows them to hold onto the top of their farm system.
RHP Blake Treinen, Oakland Athletics
A Treinen-Adam Ottavino combination in the Rockies’ bullpen would be among the most lethal in all of baseball. Treinen has been arguably the best reliever in the MLB this season, twirling a 0.98 ERA and 10.98 K/9 with 23 saves.
Blake "The Witch" Treinen, 96mph Sinker and 89mph Slider, Overlay
Yeah, that's ridiculous. ??♀️
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 29, 2018
Treinen’s sinker sits in the upper-90s and pairs with a sharp-breaking slider and triple-digit fastball that leaves hitters dumbfounded. Oakland, however, is in a precarious situation, sitting 11 games above .500 but still six games out of a wild card berth.
Should they choose to sell, Treinen is likely going to be one of the best players dealt. Under team control until 2021 and making just over $2 million this season, and he would undoubtedly be the most expensive piece for the Rockies on this list. But if he’s the answer to their late-game struggles, Treinen is certainly worth the price.
RHP Tyson Ross, San Diego Padres
Manager Bud Black knows Ross from his days with the Padres. Ross and Black were together for two years in San Diego, during which the former pitched at a 3.04 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning while earning his lone All-Star appearance.
Since then, Ross suffered through two injury-marred seasons before entering 2018 healthy once again. Prior to struggling in his last two starts (15 earned runs, seven innings pitched), Ross was 5-5 with 3.32 ERA. Though his HR/9 is above his normally-minuscule rates, Ross’ career ground-ball tendencies would play well in Colorado. Ross is only controlled through this year, but he could add experience to a young group of Rockies starters down the stretch.
C Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays
The combination of Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters have produced only marginal offensive numbers. Tom Murphy has been impressive in his limited big-league action this year, but that is far from a certain thing moving forward.
Meanwhile, Wilson Ramos has staked his claim has the best offensive catcher of the 2018 season. His slash line of .290/.340/.479 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs landed him as the AL’s starting catcher in the All-Star Game next week. He would immediately supplant the Rockies’ trio of catchers and add a dangerous bat in the middle of the lineup.
Ramos is also controlled for just the remainder of this season, and given his production, the Rays will expect a substantial return. Renting Ramos for half a season could prove costly, but if he energizes the offense to its second consecutive postseason, it’s easy to imagine him wanting to stay in the friendly confines of Coors Field in coming seasons.