The Colorado Rockies are, unsurprisingly, off to a terrible start in 2024 and so despite the fact that it’s still April, it’s worth taking a look ahead at who might be traded off the team at the deadline when they should be strong sellers yet again.

A year ago, somewhat quietly, Rockies GM Bill Schmidt broke dramatically from the philosophy of his predecessor Jeff Bridich who routinely made among the fewest overall transactions in MLB and was especially allergic to swinging trades.

Schmidt set a new Rockies record by making 10 trades on the year, the vast majority of which saw veteran players on short-term deals moved out in favor of pitching that currently resides on the farm.

Committing to the rebuild means accepting that this season may once again be a 100+ loss campaign but it also means doing everything possible to turn any current value into future value.

And while it might be tempting to believe that a team at 5-17 has no currently valuable assets that make sense to move, they’ve actually got quite a few.

Let’s separate them out into a few different categories.

Charlie Blackmon

First of all, it once again makes a certain kind of sense for Colorado to send Chuck Nazty to a place where he might finish his career with a contender but Blackmon has long been a special case and never showed a desire to leave the team he has spent his entire career playing for. 

Veteran Position Players

Ryan McMahon is an intriguing character in this conversation. He is a three-time Gold Glove finalist who has been about league average at the plate for the last few seasons, marked by incredible swings of hot and cold. 

He’s got three years left on his deal and it goes up to $16 million in the third, limiting the number of teams who could be interested in acquiring him, and so it’s a long shot. That said, he has gotten off to an excellent start at the plate in 2024, showcasing a new two-strike approach, and it’s possible a GM out there might take a gamble on him and be willing to part with some decent pitching.

Meanwhile Brendan Rodgers is still in arbitration and so has a much more movable contract. Unfortunately for his market value, he has been awful to begin the year and so he will need to start hitting if the Rockies want to get solid return value for him. Though, like with McMahon, it’s worth noting that his phenomenal defense – he’s already won a Gold Glove – gives him a high floor for any potential suitors.

The Rox also have a wealth of quality infield prospects led by Adael Amador (25th on MLB Pipeline) giving a bit of extra incentive to at least listen to offers on McMahon and Rodgers.

Elias Diaz, on the other hand, should be shopped fairly aggressively. Last year’s All-Star Game MVP, Diaz absolutely has his ups and downs at the plate but has shown he can be a plus on both sides of the baseball when he is going well, which is rare in a catcher.

He becomes an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason and the club also has a pair of catching prospects they like in Drew Romo and Willie McIver so, like with the players moved a year ago, Diaz should be moved for pitching. 

And finally, Jake Cave could be this year’s version of Mike Moustakas; a great bench player who brought more both on and off the field than most people were expecting who nets a nice return when the time comes.

Veteran Starting Pitching

This is admittedly strange.

Cal Quantrill and Dakota Hudson have been pretty solid in their short time pitching at altitude and under most circumstances this team should be hoarding that kind of player.

There’s also a slight wrinkle here where, despite both being picked up on technically one-year deals in free agency, both are still in arbitration so the Rockies could hang onto them next season if they pitch well.

The question is, how long can they keep it up and do you really believe that either is a part of the team’s next window of contention? If so, by all means hang onto ‘em but this is one of those rare instances where trading decent pitching off the roster makes sense for Colorado as long as it returns younger, more long-term controlled pitching.

Less strange would be a kind of repeat of what we saw last season with Brad Hand and Pierce Johnson, except this time with lefty Jalen Beeks who has posted a 163 ERA+ in the early going.

The Young Guys

This is, arguably, the most fascinating category.

The Rockies have a wildly underrated group of position player prospects piling up throughout the system and even onto the MLB roster and at some point they are going to have to choose which ones are the future… and which ones are not.

The competition for right field includes: Michael Toglia, Sean Bouchard, Hunter Goodman, Jordan Beck, Zac Veen, Yanquiel Fernandez, Benny Montgomery, and Sterlin Thompson.

Toglia, Bouchard, Goodman, and Thompson are also competing at 1B/DH where you can add Elehuris Montero’s name to the mix. 

That’s a lot of names for two spots.

There’s reason to believe in each of these guys and it has made sense to develop them this far, but push is coming to shove and some decisions will need to be made soon.

It would very much be in the Rockies best interest to trade anywhere from 2-4 of these guys in favor of pitching, which despite some encouraging signs from Chase Dollander, Sean Sullivan, and Carson Palmquist, is still in need of a shot in the…arm.

Going into the 2023 trade deadline, there was understandable skepticism that the Colorado Rockies would break from tradition and sell off veterans to get immediately worse in order to build for the future. But they did.

No, they didn’t trade Charlie Blackmon. And they still probably aren’t going to.

But there are quite a few possibilities here for this team to make some interesting moves and give a boost to the potential of a brighter future.