Trading CarGo isn't the answer for Rockies

A week ago, Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote in his back page column about the possibility of the Colorado Rockies (27-44, 15 games back in the NL West entering play Monday) making superstar outfielder Carlos Gonzalez available in trade. Luckily, I'm here today to tell you not only is that not going to happen under any circumstances, but it would be completely insane if it ever did.

As Troy Renck wrote in the Denver Post this morning, "Carlos Gonzalez is like nobody that's ever played for the Rockies before." Not only is that true (in a great many ways), but I might go a step further: Carlos Gonzalez playing in Coors Field is like no other act in professional baseball. It's like LeBron James or Derrick Rose driving the lane, a combination of power and grace rarely displayed on the diamond. 

CarGo is different. CarGo is special. 

The term 5-tool player gets thrown around a lot these days, but in reality the list is very short. If you've ever seen him play, you know Gonzalez makes the cut. The Rockies permanently moved him to left field to hopefully keep him healthy, but we've already seen the highlight reel catches he's made patrolling center. The Coors outfield is vast and Gonzalez does quite a job covering ground in left while also displaying plus arm strength. 

His bat is obviously what separates him from other players. Since the start of the 2010 season (when Gonzalez was 24), he ranks fifth in all of baseball in OPS (on-base plus slugging). Ahead of him? Only Joey Votto, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, and Paul Konerko (you know, the usual suspects). Gonzalez' OPS bests everyone else in baseball including leader of the team Troy Tulowitzki

When he's at the plate at Coors Field, Gonzalez is unstoppable. Beast doesn't even begin to describe him. In 219 games at 22nd and Blake Street, Gonzalez has a line of .352/.409/.666. He's like a video game version of Barry Bonds on steroids at altitude.

Even the suggestion of trading him—no matter how dire the rest of the club may be—is asinine. CarGo is simply too young (26) and too good for the Rockies to get back enough to make a deal worth it. 

Before last season, the Rockies agreed to a 7-year/$80MM extension with Gonzalez. The contract is backloaded and Gonzalez won't make as much as $10.5MM in a single year until 2014. After that, he'll make $16MM in '15, $17MM in '16, and $20MM in '17. A lot is going to change between now and 2015, the Rockies might even be a good baseball team by then. More importantly, the Rockies will be signing a new big television deal sometime before then. If they want to give their fans a reason to watch this team between now and then, they better keep Gonzalez in the fold. 

There simply is no argument to be made right now that the Rockies won't be able to afford Gonzalez in those years. Even if they negotiate the worst television deal of all-time and the Monforts start burning their money, you deal with that problem when it arises. Not now. There's simply no reason to trade CarGo now. 

Giving the fans a shoddy overall on field product this year is one thing, trading Gonzalez as a reaction to that would be a slap in the face to everyone who has paid to see this team this year. 

Rockies Digest Top Stories