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The Coors Effect


June 19, 2010 1:40 PM

Tulo injury leads to bad ideas

So Troy Tulowitzki is expected to miss the next two months.  My reaction is... so what?

Everybody else's reaction?

oh-noes-everybody-panic.gif

Yeah.  Exactly.  The Tulo injury has led to rumors upon Troy Renck rumors upon Insider rumors that yes, the Rockies will make a move for "middle infield depth."  Wasn't that the whole point of signing Kaz Matsui to a minor-league deal?  Oh yeah, except Kaz Matsui isn't that good any more.  But most of the names being thrown out there are not realistic.  Stephen Drew is not a realistic trade acquisition.  Neither is Dan Uggla.  And the other names being thrown out there aren't that good.  Ryan Theriot?  Seriously?  He's probably not as good as Chris Nelson.

See, the whole substance of all these trade rumors is that Tulo is out for six to eight weeks, and we don't want Chris Nelson playing for us.  Because we don't think Chris Nelson can hit.  The sort of thinking that is behind most of these rumors is the sort of shortsighted thinking that ends up hurting teams.  The kind of thinking that doesn't trust young players to get it done, assuming that a known mediocrity like Theriot is a better option than the unknown, a player like Nelson.  The way I see it, the Rockies have three options here:

1.  Acquire a mediocre, stopgap player like Theriot.  This works if you view players who are a sure bet to be mediocre as a better option than players who have never played in the majors before, and therefore you have no idea what they're going to do.  Blah.  Trading a prospect (even a mid-level prospect or worse) for a guy who's worse than the player he'll be replacing is a dumb idea, unless they really DO just want a utility infielder (in which case it's probably not that hard to find a guy who's better than Jonathan Herrera.)

2.  Acquire a player who's pretty good, like Uggla.  But the Marlins aren't going to give up Uggla for free.  Getting somebody like this will require at least a real prospect or two.  And that's to get the guy to fill in for six to eight weeks.  Nothing could be dumber than this.

3.  Stick with Herrera/Nelson/Barmes up the middle for now.  Hey, Omar Quintanilla is still at AAA, too.

Now, a lot of Rockies fans probably want to do option #2, because they don't want Clint Barmes playing regardless of whether Tulo is hurt.  But, see, this is why you have prospects and depth in the minor leagues.  Like, really, this is exactly why the Rockies have let Omar Quintanilla hang around for a few years: in case something like this happens.  The knee-jerk reaction in this situation is "OMG TULO IS HURT ROCKIES HAVE TO MAKE A TRADE!"  Which is incredibly stupid.  No, most of the players the Rockies could replace him with are not as good as Tulowitzki.  Most players aren't as good as Tulowitzki.  And it's not as if the Rockies are really in the playoff race.  I mean, even with Tulowitzki in the lineup, the Rockies were barely over .500.  So what makes you think that the Rockies will be better than that with him out of the lineup?  More importantly, if the team is barely over .500 with Tulowitzki, are they suddenly a playoff team because you traded for a stopgap player while he's out?  No.  The core of this Rockies team will be together for a few more years, so there's no need to hit the panic button, assume we have to go for it this year, and write this off as "not our year" while sitting back and watching Chris Nelson play.  And, hey, you know, Chris Nelson might turn out to be good.  But there are a whole bunch of players the Rockies are considering in a trade who we know are not good.  Why some think that trading for one of them will lead us to the playoffs is beyond me.

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