Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Quite a Haul
2008-11-11 16:32
by Mark T.R. Donohue

So we have a better idea now of the players the Rockies will receive from Oakland in the Matt Holliday trade, although not a complete one. There are physicals still to come and there is also a chance that Dan O'Dowd may flip the only guy with a big-league profile, reliever Huston Street, for further prospects. Street's presence in the trade saves it from being a complete disaster for Colorado, particularly if they're able to move him before his pitching elbow falls off. Some early rumors suggested that the Rockies were going to get Greg Smith, Brett Anderson, and Carlos Gonzalez, all three of whom were acquired by Oakland in the same deal with Arizona last offseason. That sends up a red flag since any time a young player spends only a year in Oakland's system and then gets flipped there's usually something wrong with them. The A's don't waste cheap talent.

Street is a better get than Anderson (the Rockies do receive Smith and Gonzalez) because even though his health situation has deteriorated he's still perceived as a plus closer. Brian Fuentes was significantly better last year, with a way higher K rate and half the homers. But the Rockies don't care about being good, they care about being cheap, and Street has two more years until free agency. Thus, he has at least half a season in him before he becomes too expensive for the Monforts. Street is a high-fastball pitcher and could be a catastrophe at Coors Field, particularly if bad early results lead to him overthrowing and hurting himself. I think the odds of his ever even wearing a Rockies uniform are somewhat less than fifty-fifty.

The other two guys, from what I hear, are no great shakes. Smith is a lefty with superb control, a much-praised move to first, and no above-average pitches. Guys like that tend to get absolutely torched at Coors, Jeff Francis notwithstanding (although the Channel's pure stuff is pretty underrated). Smith also has an almost 60% flyball rate and strikes out about five per nine. In short, he's a mediocre fifth starter who at Coors will probably give up five or six runs a start and leave the bullpen with four innings of work to do. Just like the back-end starters the Rockies had last year, only... even cheaper! Wow, maybe we can finally afford to get the Dinger costume dry-cleaned between homestands this season.

Carlos Gonzalez is an outfielder considered the big prize in the Haren deal. The A's were terribly excited to see him arrive a winter ago and now they're even more excited to be rid of him. Unlike another D-Back Carlos, Carlos Quentin, Arizona didn't err in letting this guy leave town. He's a platoon lefty who strikes out a ton and doesn't hit for power, although Keith Law likes his defense. He's young, to be sure, but the Rockies still haven't learned their lesson on this -- guys who reach the majors without having fully absorbed the difference between balls and strikes almost never fall upon it late in life. He'll hit more than four homers at Coors Field but with an OBP well south of .300, he'll do far more harm than good.

We'll have to wait and see what the Rockies get for Street, if they choose to move him, before we can really close the book on this deal. Gonzalez is the key, clearly -- Street being two years away from free agency means he has no future in Denver and Smith's best-case scenario is that he pitches so well he gets to become Colorado's first-ever 20-game loser. It's a little unfair to look at the numbers alone and say that Gonzalez isn't any improvement on Spilborghs, Smith, Hawpe, Fowler because those guys have gotten to play at Coors (and Colorado Springs -- 6,035 feet) and Carlos had to play at the Mausoleum. He could get better. If he does, we can look forward to the Rockies trading him in three or four years.

I held off on this yesterday because I wanted to find out what the haul was, but now I know. The Rockies are a pathetic, disgusting joke and I'm annoyed that by proximity I'm going to be forced to follow them for another dreary season. This ownership group has ground the hopes and spirits of baseball fans desperate for a quality squad into the ground, Albert Haynesworth-style. The Nuggets, Avalanche, and Broncos are spending all of their resources to bring star players, successful coaches, and hopefully championships to the city of Denver, a city where for better or worse winners get supported intensely and passionately and losers get ignored. This is the city of Carmelo Anthony, Joe Sakic, Champ Bailey, Milan Hejduk, Jay Cutler, Adam Foote, now Chauncey Billups.

And Greg Smith, Carlos Gonzalez, and (maybe) Huston Street. Bleep you, you cheap bleeping jerks. Thanks for stealing my money and my team.

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