If I can pause here for a second, I would like to grab my helmet to protect myself from the Rockies fans' outrage.
Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way and all preventative measures have been taken, let us continue. Where was I again? Oh yeah.
It is time for the Rockies to free Carlos Gonzalez.
Trust me, as a proud drummer for all small market teams, I have no pride in saying something of this nature. No team should feel the need to shed a 26-year-old star in his prime simply to aid a rebuilding process. However, it is obvious by 31-51 record and the inability to piece together any signs of life, the Rockies are not on the verge of contending and are likely a few years removed from doing so.
So why not test the market for a dynamic slugger that is locked up long-term and will yield a huge windfall return in a year where everyone is looking for outfield help?
Gonzalez is arguably worth much more than he was when the Rockies acquired him as part of the Matt Holliday trade on November 10, 2008. In his four seasons with the Rockies, Gonzalez has quietly gone from prospect to All-Star to MVP candidate. Over the course of that time, Gonzalez has hit .315 with 90 home runs, 296 RBI, 315 runs, and 72 stolen bases. According to Fangraphs, Gonzalez's .563 slugging percentage is the 5th highest in baseball, trailing only Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, and Josh Hamilton.
That's pretty solid company.
But we're not here to debate just how good Carlos Gonzalez is. We're here to debate what he is worth to the Rockies.
As I said, the Rockies are going nowhere this year, with or without a healthy Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo's heavily backloaded contract and health status make him a tough player to move, so the Rockies's most attractive trade chip become Gonzalez. And as much as you like him patrolling the Coors Field outfield, his .336 average, 17 home runs, 58 RBI, and 59 runs scored are wasted on a team that cannot put a starting pitcher on the mound with an ERA below 5.00.
On the other side of the fence, teams will line up for Gonzalez's services, and his relative affordability over the next five seasons make him very marketable. The Yankees, Braves, and Blue Jays are just a few of the teams with the pieces to put together a package of prospects that will provide a near-term return of investment on any such trade. The Blue Jays in particular, with outfielder Anthony Gose knocking on the major league door and Noah Sindergaard among a plethora of pitching prospects, could make it well worth Colorado's while should Toronto choose to go for it at the deadline.
The writing is somewhat on the wall, and fan backlash is to be expected, but sometimes a general manager needs to play the bad guy in order to protect the long-term success of the club.
Time for Dan O'Dowd to wax his mustache, crack a sinister laugh, and blow up the team.