• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

The easy thing to say when considering “what the Rockies need” is to make a snarky faith joke. But readers, I won’t do that to you or our site. Because we all know that you’ve come to expect much more high-browed, intellectually stimulating commentary from us UmpBump writers. And by jove, that’s what you’re going to get.

Poop.

Anyhow, when writing Colorado’s “Hot Offseason Action” post back in February, I wondered to myself if I was being too rough on these guys. Turns out, they’ve been worse that I thought they’d be. The Rockies have a mediocre offense to go along with sub-par pitching. Put those together and the results are rarely pretty.

Consequently, the Rockies are currently 6 games out in the NL West (which I’m thinking is pretty difficult to do) and 13 games under .500. And something tells me that their incredible run to close out the 2007 regular season is not going to repeat itself this year. Why? Because you can only beat “improbable” so many times.

So unless the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers tank big time between now and the trade deadline, the Rockies should be dealing some pieces. And no, I am not going to advocate dealing Matt Holliday. Not this year, anyway. Holliday is still under contract in 2009, albeit at a higher price. If the Rockies have no shot in hell of winning the division next year, then by all means, please do trade him away. But that’s not the case here. With some maneuvering, they could still compete in 2009. And here’s my suggestion.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TRADE GARRETT ATKINS AND PLAY IAN STEWART AT THIRD ALREADY.

This of course is not a novel idea. It’s been said and argued ad nauseum for over a year. It just hasn’t happened yet. And just because it’s been said but ignored, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. At this juncture, there are a couple of teams vying for the playoffs (Milwaukee and Minnesota) who could use offensive help at third. It’s clear that Stewart has earned a shot to be a big league regular. It just makes perfect sense. As a result of the injury to Todd Helton, Stewart was recalled from AAA this past week with Atkins moving to first for the time being, which is all well and good. But what happens when Helton returns? Move Ian Stewart to second base permanently? This seems like an odd thing to do to a young player. And so far this year, Jeff Baker is doing a better job of hitting righties so he might be their solution at second.

The Rockies do, however, need another starting pitcher if they are to compete in 2009. Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook are solid, and Jeff Francis has been better than his ERA suggests. But Jorge de la Rosa, Greg Reynolds, and Mark Redman have been disasters. Sure, it’s possible that Franklin Morales becomes a solution, but it’s not like the guy’s dominating AAA. How about something like Atkins for Boof Bonser and a B-Prospect? Or Atkins for Carlos Villanueva and a B? Teams like the Rockies really need to maximize the value of each dollar they spend. Continually blocking your best prospect just doesn’t make much sense at this point.

- What They Need Index -

3 Responses to “What They Need: Colorado Rockies – More Stewart, Less Atkins”

  1. watching Ian Stewart > watching Garrett Atkins

    /fangirl vote/

  2. Trading Atkins would be a bad move for the Rockies. The long term solution is to keep Atkins at first (where he played at UCLA), Stewart at third and Baker at second. This is the best lineup for the Rockies right now. Todd Helton has had a rough year. If his trends continue, 2008 will be the worst season of his career. Whether this is a simple off-year or whether Todd is nearing the end of his playing days is a different debate entirely. Either way, Helton needs to accept a platoon role or agree to waive his no-trade clause. Difficult as that may be, it is what is best for the franchise right now.

  3. Paul Moro says:

    I don’t think that anyone’s going to argue that trading Helton is the best possible scenario. I didn’t mention it because I just don’t think it’s possible.

    As you mentioned, Helton has a full no-trade. Even if he were to waive it, he’s still owed a ridiculous amount of money over a long time – 3 more years at a combined $52.3MM, not including the $23MM option in 2012 with the $4.6MM buyout. So that’s a guaranteed $56.9MM for Todd Helton. I just don’t see a contract that large getting dealt anytime soon. I don’t see anyone willing to take it on nor do I see Colorado agreeing to pay the huge chunk of money it will cost them to unload him on somebody else. And for Helton to agree to waive his no-trade, he could very well demand that that 2012 option for $23MM become guaranteed as well. The odds aren’t in favor of them being able to get rid of Helton.

    And if you’re going to try and platoon Helton, I’m assuming that his platoon partner in this scenario would be Atkins, who is also going to be getting a raise in arbitration. So you’d probably be paying Atkins $6MM to hit against lefties, which will probably give him 200-300ABs over the course of the year. I just don’t think a team like the Rockies whose payroll is around $65-$70MM paying someone so much for so little work. And I don’t think Atkins would like that very much either.

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