The Miami Marlins are at .500 near the end of August. For a team that lost 100 games a season ago and still boasts one of the smaller payrolls in all of baseball, that would be an accomplishment. But the Marlins are still alive and well in playoff contention, mostly because of the mediocrity of the National League.
To enhance their playoff chances, the Marlins are going to need to take advantage of one of the bottom feeders of the National League, in the Colorado Rockies.
To help preview this ultra important series we reached out to friend of Marlin Maniac, Hayden Kane for a quick chat on what to expect in the series. Hayden is the editor of the Fansided Rockies site, Rox Pile. RP does a phenomenal job of covering the Rockies, from the drama surrounding Tulo this season to their struggles on the field in 2014.
Here is the conversation I had with Hayden:
Marlin Maniac: What’s the latest on the Troy Tulowitzki-Rockies situation? Do you see the Rockies trading him at any point?
Hayden Kane: Everything is on hold because of his season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. The rehab from that operation will take five months. I believe that puts the trade talks on hold for this off-season. The Rockies’ front office declined to trade him when they could have sold high this season, so I would like to think that they would be smart enough not to deal him this off-season when his value is down.
I do see the Rockies trading him eventually, but it might still be one injury-riddled season away in a scenario where they finally give up and absorb some salary to move on.
MM: In a hypothetical scenario, the Rockies are forced to trade Tulo and are in talks with the Marlins about a potential trade. What would it take for the Fish to land Tulo? How much salary would the Rockies potentially have to eat to make a fair deal?
HK: As you can imagine, the answer to this question has changed drastically the last two months. Tulowitzki reminded everybody this season that he is a generational talent when he is healthy. If I was answering this when he was healthy, I would have said that the Rockies needed to absorb no salary and ask for a king’s ransom for him.
Now? The Rockies would have to eat a lot of salary, maybe close to half of the $20 million per year that he is owed on the back end, in the hopes to still get two or three top-shelf prospects. That would presume a lot of faith on Miami’s part when it comes to his health, however, which is why the Rockies have zero leverage in Tulo trade talks for the foreseeable future.
MM: CarGo and Tulo are done for the season. What players can the Marlins look forward to facing this series?
HK: Corey Dickerson. If I wanted to get silly I might type his name more than once. Watching Dickerson hit is my favorite thing about watching the Rockies at the present moment. I would also note that Drew Stubbs, a familiar name to most people, has remedied many of the woes that had lampooned his career to this point (platoon splits, strikeouts) and is putting together a stellar season.
MM: What kind of moves do you see the Rockies making this off-season and how close to contention do you believe they are?
HK: I see the Rockies doing next to nothing, and I see them as really, really far away from contention.
This question ventures into frustrating territory for many Rockies’ fans. The incumbents in the front office, Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett, appear to have excellent job security despite the horrid state of the franchise. They have indicated a willingness to chalk this season up to injuries as the sole reason for the Rockies’ failure. That motivated their inactivity at the trade deadline, their decision to pass on Jacob Turner and let him get to the Cubs, and I believe it will motivate them to make very few moves this winter.
It appears that the Colorado front office genuinely believes this team is a contender, and that the only thing that prevented them from being relevant was health. That’s scary.
MM: Who are some Rockie minor leaguers that could see time come September when the rosters expand?
HK: The Rockies have been hurt a lot, so most of the big minor league names have already appeared. Kyle Parker is a former first round pick who plays outfield and first base; it will be tough for the Rockies to find at-bats for him, but he will be up.
I would also mention a noteworthy guy who won’t see time. 2013 first round pick Jon Gray is the best pitching prospect in franchise history. He is currently in Double-A, and while many people will call for him to appear in September, I believe the Rockies are more inclined to wait. I also believe that is the right decision given the gruesome situation that he would be joining if he was called up.
MM: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series?
HK: Franklin Morales is an adventure. He deserves credit for the job he has done this year plugging holes for the Rockies as a swing man. He is ridiculously talented in terms of stuff, but he constantly fights his command and struggles to get out of his own way.
Jordan Lyles has been outstanding. When the Rockies traded Dexter Fowler for him and Brandon Barnes this off-season, it was less than popular. He pitches like the ideal starter in the Rockies’ minds: lots of sink on his pitches and lots of groundballs when he is right. He just returned to the rotation recently from a broken hand.
Christian Bergman is just returning to the rotation after his own injury and will be auditioning for a spot next season. His stuff is nothing to get excited about, so he relies a lot on his ability to locate and keep hitters off-balance. When that doesn’t work he gets hit hard, as evidenced by the fact that his ERA is north of 7.00 this season.
There you have it. We want to thank Hayden for giving us such great insight into the Rockies, and remember to check out Rox Pile for all the latest Rockies’ news and notes.
Personally, this is a series I believe the Marlins can sweep and position themselves well for the rest of the season.