The plight of the Colorado Rockies would be hilarious if the whole thing weren't so dang depressing. Midway through a wretched season that is getting worse by the minute, the Rockies are a team ravaged by injuries, ineffectiveness and, worst of all, poor management both in the dugout and in the front office. They are a franchise that simply screams to be blown up and rebuilt, except that their general manager is the only man on the planet who disagrees with that assertion.
Case in point, GM Dan O'Dowd recently spoke with Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and in that interview he threw water on the idea of trading pretty much anyone worth anything on his roster. As you might have deduced, not trading anyone of value makes rebuilding a roster exceptionally difficult, especially when the players he considers off-limits are the exact ones that he should be spit polishing and placing prominently on the trading block.
The first player O'Dowd declares "untouchable" is Carlos Gonzalez. OK, fine, I have no problem with that. He's young, he's fantastic and he's locked up for long-term. You have to build around someone, right?
Next, he stops just short of declaring Dexter Fowler off limits. This one could go either way. Fowler is finally delivering on his promise after some inconsistent years, so the Rockies could sell high, but he is also under team control for three seasons after this one, so you can't really blame them for wanting to hold onto him for anything less than a Godfather offer.
Now here is where the crazy starts to seep in. 31-year old outfielder Michael Cuddyer and the $21 million he is owed after this season… not going anywhere. The only rational response to that declaration is this:
For a team going nowhere fast, Cuddyer is the last player they should be holding onto. Even if he is the greatest clubhouse guy in the history of professional sports, there is on reasons for a bad team to hold onto a good but not great veteran player who has a sizable contract that could actually return a decent package of prospects via trade. $21 million is a lot money to pay a guy so he can keep everyone's spirits up in the lockerroom while Colorado turns into a laughingstock for the next two-plus seasons. You know what really raises spirits? Seeing a competent front office make moves that will actually improve the team on the field, not worrying about how warm and fuzzy the current batch of poor talent feels.
Oh, but it gets better. O'Dowd follows that gem up by also stating that he doesn't foresee trading veteran relievers Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle. Considering that the Rockies current pitching staff is an abomination of nature, the last thing that their general manager should be worrying about is whether or not they have quality late game relievers. What good is it to have a strong closer and setup guy when your starting pitchers have been so awful that they have not recorded a win since June 4th (which is only partially attributable to their conversion to a 4-man rotation with a strict pitch limit)?
Contending teams are the ones that need veteran role players and reliable late-inning relief work, not teams that will be lucky not to finish with the worst record in baseball. And that is exactly where the Rockies will finish if the only players he is willing to part with are Marco Scutaro (an impending free agent who Colorado acquired for a middling relief prospect before the season), Jason Giambi (a pinch-hitter) and Jeremy Guthrie (who they might have to pay other teams to take off their hands).
This team is light enough on trade assets to begin with and imposing such strict limitations on what are willing to give up will result in only one of two things, the Rockies remaining terrible for several seasons and/or Dan O'Dowd getting fired.