The Colorado Rockies are in an awkward position. They're close enough in the standings to entertain making a push for the playoffs, but not so close as to guarantee it. As such, general manager Jeff Bridich could choose to sit out the trade deadline, or perhaps even flip the tables and make a deal or two that weakens his current roster for the sake of the future.
Say the Rockies do decide to buy. What would they go shopping for?
Predictably, perhaps, the Rockies need help all over.
Colorado has given more than 100 plate appearances to 11 batters this season. Just four (Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, and Carlos Gonzalez) have an OPS+ better than 90. Woof. Realistically, the Rockies won't find an upgrade behind the plate and won't rush to displace DJ LeMahieu at second base. That leaves first base and a corner outfield spot as the two areas in the lineup where they might seek a new face … and yet the Rockies don't seem ready to jettison Ian Desmond or give up on their incumbent outfielders. Who knows, basically.
On the pitching side of things, the Rockies could use a starter and at least one new reliever. Given how much they invested in their bullpen during the winter, it's possible that they permit Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw another half to right the ship.
This could be a boring deadline, in other words. ll the same, let's look at some realistic targets.
Possible trade targets
The theme here is going to be "non-elite reliever who could figure into their plans heading forward." Craig Stammen has found new life with the Padres, and is under contract through next season at $2.25 million. In addition to having experience in a variety of roles, his groundball ways would presumably work better in Coors than if he were a fly ball pitcher.
Mychal Givens doesn't get the same attention as teammates Zach Britton or Brad Brach. He's a quality arm, however, and one whose struggles this season shouldn't obscure that. Givens is under team control through the 2021 season, and his stinginess with the long ball would make him a good fit in hitter-friendly Coors.
The Rockies could have claimed Kirby Yates off waivers at various points throughout his career. They probably wish they would have at this point, given how well he's pitched in 2018. His injury history and track record could tempt the Padres to trade him -- and could make him a bargain if he's able to maintain a level of production close to his current one.
Though not as well known as Kyle Barraclough, Drew Steckenrider is an interesting trade candidate in his own right. He follows a similar formula, overcoming his wildness by striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings. Steckenrider is under team control through the 2023 season, so the Marlins don't have to rush to make a deal.
If the Rockies do pursue a starter, a short-term fix like Matt Harvey would make sense. Harvey has improved his slider since joining the Reds, and likely wouldn't cost too much given he's a free agent at season's end who was already moved once this year.
Nathan Eovaldi is probably a bad fit for the Rockies, seeing as how he's been home-run prone during his time with the Rays. Still, if his recent disaster start lowers his cost, the Rockies could find a deal too attractive to pass on.
As we've suggested all along, the Rockies won't be swimming at the deep end of the pool. That scratches Brendan Rodgers, Colton Welker, Peter Lambert, Riley Pint, and Ryan Vilade from the list. Garrett Hampson and Ryan Castellani, both of whom could figure into Colorado's plans this and next year, are also probably out of play. That leaves the likes of Tyler Nevin, Yency Almonte, Sam Hilliard and so on as the most likely Rockies prospects to go in a deal.