REBUILD THE ROCKIES!

SDCARP’s Rebuild Proposal (Something to Think About on a Rainy Night)

Prior to embarking on the necessary tasks, some fundamental changes need to be made to the structure of the Rox front office / baseball operations. Some of these changes include;

  1. Commit to scouting. Poach the best scouts from other Clubs. If we’re rebuilding, we need elite evaluators. We also have 4 of the top 44 picks in the upcoming draft. The scouting department should be logging serious overtime.
  2. Commit (I mean COMMIT) to sabermetrics. We’ve made a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.
  3. Commit to foreign free agents (related to #1). If we are to believe the rumors, we were close to
  4. signing Jose Dariel Abreu. But to my knowledge, that’s the only foreign player we seriously pursued in recent years. The floodgates from Cuba are open.
  5. Adopt “best player available” philosophy in amateur draft. It’s OK if we draft 3 OFers with our first 3 picks. We can trade them later to address needs.
  6. Commit (I mean COMMIT) to player development. Use the St. Louis Cardinals as the benchmark.

The Rox (and Fans of the Rox) Need to Keep These Fundamental Truths in Mind:

  1. In the post PED era, a player’s peak appears to be 28 years old, and the decline from that point is significant. Injuries occur more often. Player’s salaries are escalating and the teams are being protective of their investments. Organizational depth is more important than ever.
  2. Pitchers that throw sliders and cutters are more prone to TJ surgeries.
  3. Post TJ pitchers seem to be good for about 700 IP before the injury re-appears.
  4. Pitchers are reaching the majors younger than ever before. They’re not just arriving, they’re making big contributions.
  5. Bull Pens are more important than ever.
  6. I define “difference maker” as a Matt Harvey, Kris Bryant, Mookie Betts, Noah Syndergaard type talent. David Dahl (our best current prospect) is a nice player, but falls short of “difference maker.” Jon Gray is probably our next best prospect. Again……not a “difference maker.” But guys like Dahl and Gray will play up very well alongside “difference makers.”

Key Decisions Need to be Made Based on a Realistic, Focused Time Horizon

2015 is lost.

2016 will be miserable (this will be the case regardless of rebuild (or not)).

2017 will be bad…….but glimmers of hope will begin to appear. By 2017, we will be having our 4th consecutive amateur draft with high early picks. Again….I go back to scouting (and player development). We should be showing some real extreme farm depth by 2017 – and have multiple “difference makers.”

2018 – play 500 ball and see serious glimmers of hope.

2019 – 2023 – contend. Playoffs 3 of the 4 years.

 

 

Current Contract Status of Some Key Players Courtesy of Rotoworld:

 

Player Position Contract Terms
Nolan Arenado Third Baseman 2015: $512,500, 2016: Pre-arb eligible, 2017-19: Arb. Eligible, 2020: Free Agent
John Axford Relief Pitcher 2015: 2.6 million, 2016: Free Agent
Christian Bergman Relief Pitcher 2015: $509,500, 2016: Pre-arb eligible, 2017-19: Arb. Eligible, 2020: Free Agent
Rafael Betancourt Relief Pitcher 2015: Minor League Contract
Charlie Blackmon Outfielder 2015: $517,500, 2016-18: Arb. Eligible, 2019: Free Agent
Brooks Brown Relief Pitcher 2015: $509,500, 2016-2017: Pre-arb eligible, 2018-20: Arb. Eligible, 2021: Free Agent
Eddie Butler Starting Pitcher 2015: $509,500, 2016-2017: Pre-arb eligible, 2018-20: Arb. Eligible, 2021: Free Agent
Jorge De La Rosa Starting Pitcher 2015: $12.5 million, 2016: $12.5 million, 2017: Free Agent
Daniel Descalso Shortstop 2015: $1.5 million, 2016: $2.1 million, 2017: Free Agent
Corey Dickerson Outfielder 2015: $512,500, 2016: Pre-arb eligible, 2017-19: Arb. Eligible, 2020: Free Agent
Christian Friedrich Relief Pitcher 2015: $512,500, 2016: Pre-arb eligible, 2017-19: Arb. Eligible, 2020: Free Agent
Carlos Gonzalez Outfielder 2015: $16 million, 2016: $17 million, 2017: $20 million, 2018: Free Agent
LaTroy Hawkins Relief Pitcher 2015: $2.25 million, 2016: Free Agent
Nick Hundley Catcher 2015: $3.1 million, 2016: $3.15 million, 2017: Free Agent
Kyle Kendrick Starting Pitcher 2015: $5.5 million, 2016: Free Agent
D.J. LeMahieu Second Baseman 2015: $517,500, 2016-18: Arb. Eligible, 2019: Free Agent
Boone Logan Relief Pitcher 2015: $5.5 million, 2016: $6.25 million, 2017: Free Agent
Jordan Lyles Starting Pitcher 2015: $2.475 million, 2016-17: Arb. Eligible, 2018: Free Agent
Tyler Matzek Starting Pitcher 2015: $509,500, 2016-2017: Pre-arb eligible, 2018-20: Arb. Eligible, 2021: Free Agent
Michael McKenry Catcher 2015: $1.0876 million, 2016-17: Arb. Eligible, 2018: Free Agent
Justin Morneau First Baseman 2015: $6.75 million, 2016: $9 million mutual option ($750,000 buyout if club declines)
Scott Oberg Relief Pitcher
Ken Roberts Relief Pitcher
Drew Stubbs Outfielder 2015: $5.825 million, 2016: Free Agent
Troy Tulowitzki Shortstop 2015: $20 million, 2016: $20 million, 2017: $20 million, 2018: $20 million, 2019: $20 million, 2020: $14.0 million, 2021: $15.0 million club option ($4.0 million buyout)
Rafael Ynoa Third Baseman 2015: $509,500, 2016-17: Pre-arb. Eligible, 2018-20: Arb. Eligible, 2021: Free Agent

 

The 1500 LB Conventional Bomb Rebuild, Step-by-Step:

  1. Trade Tulo. Much of the talk has centered on the Mets, so I’ll focus there. I don’t think they’ll give up Noah Syndergaard. We waited too long. I do think we can get Kevin Plawecki and another very solid, mid to high minor SP. So we address C (a slow developing position), and begin to address SP depth. For the sake of easy math, we save 20M per year moving forward (some of the savings needs to be moved to scouting and player development). I see the Nationals and Pirates being potential suitors as well.
  2. Trade Cargo. This one isn’t easy. We need to get lucky. He needs to play much better. Honestly, getting someone to take his salary and getting a low minor league player with some upside is probably all we can expect.
  3. Trade Morneau. He’s only signed through the end of the year, so it’s not a big salary commitment from the receiving team. But once again, don’t expect a high minor league player in return. This is a great example of why scouting will be so important. We need to know single A players well.
  4. Trade DJ LeMahieu. Sell high. He’s a young, cheap, premium defensive player. Believe it or not, he might bring two prospects, or maybe one good high minor league player. Plus – he’ll be 30 by the time the contention window opens in 2019.
  5. Trade Boone Logan. Just get someone to take his salary. I think this is possible since he’s a lefty. Don’t expect a return.
  6. Trade Charlie Blackmon. Cheap, solid player. Should bring mid to high minor league prospect with some upside. Blackmon is similar to LeMahieu – he’ll be 32 when the contention window opens.
  7. Trade JDLR. He’s actually relatively cheap and left-handed. Don’t expect much in return, but I think someone will take his salary if he rounds into typical JDLR form in the next 8-10 weeks.
  8. Drew Stubbs – just release him already!
  9. Nick Hundley/Daniel Descalso – if the planets align, we might be able to unload their salaries…..but that’s the best case scenario.

Results of 1500 LB Conventional Bomb Sale

  1. One elite prospect.
  2. 3 AA “solid” prospects.
  3. 4-6 A “solid” prospects.
  4. Shed +/- 75M in salary. Some of this needs to go back into scouting and player development.
  5. Not directly related to sale – but happening nonetheless – 4 of the top 44 amateur picks. Use some of the 75M to sign all 4 of these guys ASAP and get them to the appropriate Farm location. Don’t play money games.
  6. Carefully, thoroughly evaluate a-e. Don’t look at the results through purple tinted glasses. If there aren’t at least two “difference makers” immediately present – proceed to nuclear option

Nuclear Option (continuation on conventional option):

  1. Trade Corey Dickerson. He’ll be 29 when the contention window opens. He’s currently cheap. Elite hitter. Will play well in AL. Extract one “difference maker” prospect and at least one other solid prospect in return.
  2. Trade Nolan Arenado. He’ll be 28 when the contention window opens. He’s cheap. His Agent is Scott Boras. He’s the best defensive player in the game. He’s an elite offensive player. Extract two “difference makers” in return.

Results of Nuclear Option:

  1. 4 elite, “difference maker” prospects.
  2. 3 AA “solid” prospects.
  3. 6-8 A “solid” prospects.
  4. Shed +/- 77M in salary. Again – some of this needs to go back into scouting and player development.
  5. Not directly related to sale – but happening nonetheless – 4 of the top 44 amateur picks. Use some of the 75M to sign all 4 of these guys ASAP and get them to the appropriate Farm location. Don’t play money games.
  6. The Rox should have the best farm system in baseball. Anything less is a failure.

Two keys after the 2015 rebuild sale (regardless of conventional vs. nuclear option). First, the search for personnel has just begun. We should continue to be proactive with trades and foreign players. Secondly, as we move towards the 2017 and 2018 off-seasons, we should have a war chest of saved money to chase Free Agents. I’m definitely not suggesting that money saved in 2015, 2016, and 2017 should line Monfart’s pockets. Nope! It should be allocated towards the 2019-2023 contention window, allowing the Rox to be a top 10 salary team if necessary.

I realize the concept will come across as crazy to most. But the Rox need to be fundamentally rebuilt in a solid, sustainable way. The re-build will take time. Being realistic with the time frame is key to coming to grips with some of the players I’m suggesting to trade.

Do I think this will happen – “no!” Monfart doesn’t have the cojones.

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Bob K.
Bob K.
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Arenado is going to be a Super 2 and will be arb eligible for 4 years.

He is without doubt the most valuable trade piece that the Rockies have. He is also not going to be cheap for very much longer.

jaredean
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jaredean
5 years ago

WOW SD, this is awesome!!! You’ve put a TON of work into this and I, for one, love it! I love seeing what people think would be a fun scenario if they “owned the team” for a day 🙂 I am constantly amazed that we here can have amazing ideas for the team, but it seems like they are on cruise-control more than anything… For example, you pointed out that, during a draft the team should choose the “best player… Read more »

Julian
Julian
5 years ago

SDCarp, this is great. Thanks for doing this. Here’s my take on what you said. If by the trading deadline we’re nowhere (which seems really likely): 1B: Trade Morneau: His contract ends this year, so if you can get a productive younger player for him, why not? Rosario is starting to heat up in AAA, so by the trading deadline maybe he’s gotten enough reps at 1B to be adequate. By then will Paulson or Parker be playing better and… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  Julian

Really quick comment here Julian – waiting for the trade deadline will be too late. The Brewers are already embarking on the initial phases of their fire sale (Craig Counsell has been picked as their transitional Manager) and there’s lots of talk that Rick Hahn will not be patient with the White Sox.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Quick clarification. I mention saving 75-77M. I did a poor job of phrasing that! What I mean is this – we will ship out very approximately 75-77M in salary based on 2015 dollars. I’m advocating going all in for scouting and player development – so allocate 5M additional there (I have no idea what that costs – so that’s just a seat-of-the-pants placeholder). More importantly – I’m shipping out 12 players. So we have 12 slots to fill – initially… Read more »

sabrchip
sabrchip
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

I doubt very seriously you could get these prospects AND dump Tulo’s contract without eating a healthy amount of it. The Hampton/Neagle curse of paying another team’s player for years is what appears to be the case. Same with Cargo unless he heats up real soon. If we get prospects we’ll have to swallow salary. I’m for signing NoDo and DJ to contracts covering arbitration years at projected salaries heavily laden with performance incentives (AS selection, Gold Glove, Silver Bats,… Read more »

Julian
Julian
5 years ago

Comment accepted. I’m not wed to waiting for the trade deadline if great opportunities arise sooner. We need to be opportunistic — if another team values one of our guys enough to trade a strong prospect to us — particularly a starting pitcher who appears to have the makeup to succeed at Coors Field — then we have to listen. As other contending teams have injuries, they might be willing to overpay for pieces that we have to fill their… Read more »

JulieG
JulieG
5 years ago

I guess I am not up for quite a bit of this unless the ownership is gone. They would continue to do the same things that they always have:-( I also am not sure I would want to wait five years for the promised land.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  JulieG

JulieG – you are exactly correct. I’ve had this in my mind for a long time, but have never taken time to write because it’s so pointless with current ownership.

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

I hope Rockies management reads this! Perfectly outlines our predicament, but more importantly offers a ray of hope for the future IF they make some hard choices now. First, let me second carp’s point about aging peaks and curves. Management should always keep that in mind. A few random thoughts: 1. As I said, I’m higher on our prospects than sdcarp. I think Gray still has ace tools (unless he’s hiding injury) and he still has time. I think Matzek… Read more »

rockymountainhigh
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rockymountainhigh
5 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

I’m on board with your outline. One of my rare total agreement with your comment. 🙂

Gary
Gary
5 years ago

Sorry Ag,I could watch 8 Morneaus’ and feel like I was watching an actual professional and entertaining team everynight.Love the guy-but certainly if we got something of value and could sell high than pull the trigger.Paulsen has shown he can hit and Wilin is under contract so it makes sense.I just object to any denigrating of Justin who has given 100% and been totally professional.

Bob in Indy
Bob in Indy
5 years ago

Sorry, gang, but I can’t jump on the “blow it up” bandwagon. I did not get optimistic in the spring, even after the Giants sweep, and I likewise refuse to accept total doom and gloom just yet. Weren’t some of you stating three weeks ago that if the Rox came out of this grueling string of inner-division games at .500 then you’d be happy at that point? Seems that if they can have a decent homestand (if the rains ever… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Another “big picture” point to make is that the blueprint for making the Rockies a sustainable contender will be a little different than other Clubs due to the altitude. I’m on record (many times) as hating the altitude excuse. I still do. We should embrace altitude – not hate it. But realistically – we need to stockpile more pitchers than the other Clubs, and should actively seek to move (trade) pitchers at a younger age. Our focus should be on… Read more »

EdtheUmp
EdtheUmp
5 years ago

sd…
EVERYTHING…I mean EVERYTHING is spot on.

Boras will be the death of the Rox if he is allowed to “mentor” NoDo into a mega-contract that “we” accept.

IMHO, we MUST bring up our top-rated 3 pitchers right now, leaving Matzek and Lyles, and see what they can do…it’s not gonna happen as we all know, but something needs to be done or a 100-loss season will become a reality.

EdtheUmp
EdtheUmp
5 years ago

Oops, I meant to write (after the current Matzek blowup), the 4 top-rated pitchers.

This early season has become an open mic night at the local comedy club.

And the hits just keep on coming…

Trip
Trip
5 years ago

Eeyore stopped by today, asked if I wouldn’t mind posting for him, as the internet is not working in the 100 acre woods today. Says this is a nice write up, but the focus is all wrong. SDCarp needs to aim a little higher. The owners would be a good target. To point it out, look how the current GM was hired. When Dan O’Dowd declined an extension on his lifetime job as GM, the Monforts merely walked down the… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  Trip

Eeyore is 100% correct. The problem starts at the top. That’s why you never hear me criticizing Weiss. My gut feeling is that he’s not a good Manager – but it doesn’t matter. The problem at the top has to be corrected before anything else good can happen.

I didn’t address that because I don’t have a solution short of Monfort selling the team, and I don’t see that happening.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Bringing this back to the top because I think virtually every RWOer is now onboard with this concept. Revisiting a few points from early May: #3 (trade Morneau) and #5 (trade Boone Logan) probably aren’t possible because they suck so bad. #8 (release Drew Stubbs) has sort of happened. #1 (trade Tulo) – Tulo is playing better, and his health has been OK. This needs to get done. #2 (trade Cargo) – playing better. Looks healthy. This needs to get… Read more »

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