The Colorado Rockies have been on a nice run lately. They have won three straight series and appear to be clicking on all cylinders. While they still find themselves in fourth place, both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have been playing inconsistent as of late. If the Rockies are to make a move towards the postseason, they need to fortify their starting rotation. New York Mets’ starting pitcher Jacob deGrom could be just the piece that transforms Colorado into contenders. deGrom has been the Mets’ ace in 2018 as he has the lowest ERA among Mets’ starters at 1.68. He has had a successful history with the Metropolitans as he won 14 games in 2015 and 15 last year. The Rockies are in need of a pitcher who rarely issues walks and induces ground balls at a high rate. deGrom fits that bill and then some.
Pitching in Colorado has been a torment for the Rockies in the past. Under the tutelage of Bud Black, the pitching staff has made tremendous strides over the past year. While the likes of Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, and Tyler Anderson have yet to establish themselves as dominant pitchers in the NL West, Black is helping his pitchers understand what it takes to pitch at high altitude. A veteran like deGrom who has had success at Coors Field can help guide the young arms. In addition, he is well-equipped to handle pressure situations as he has pitched in the league for four years and has improved each year. He was named the Rookie of the Year in 2014 after he went 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA. The Rockies need to consider making a move in an attempt to acquire deGrom if they want a pitcher who knows how to navigate through a ballgame. In 126 career starts, he has pitched two complete games with one shutout. His 2018 batting average against is a minuscule .202 and he leads the Mets in strikeouts thrown with 149. Zack Wheeler is second with 99 through 17 games.
It is evident that Jacob deGrom has been one of the most consistent pitchers for the Mets since his debut in 2014. He throws strikes, but is also not afraid to count on the defense behind him. This season, deGrom is averaging 10.87 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Currently, the only Rockies’ starter who is averaging 10 or more strikeouts is Jon Gray with 11.64. The story of 2018 thus far has been how frequently the pitching has carried Colorado. While it is a welcome sight given how poor the pitching has been in the past, there is still room for improvement. At the end of 2017, pitchers such as Freeland and Antonio Senzatela were shut down in order to minimize fatigue. deGrom would be able to step in towards the end of the season and keep Colorado in the playoff hunt. At age 30, he has been in the league for four years and is capable of bolstering any starting rotation. Black and pitching coach Steve Foster leaned heavily on the young guns last season and it showed in September. Trading for deGrom would help alleviate the strain on Freeland and the rest of the young rotation for the remainder of the season.
To acquire deGrom, the Rockies would mostly likely have to relinquish a few prospects along with one or two stars. One potential deal could involve David Dahl and Noel Cuevas. However, trading Dahl would be a challenge as he has been on the DL since June 1 with a broken foot. He has begun to swing a bat and is getting closer to rejoining the Rockies’ lineup, but the Mets would most likely proceed with caution before asking the Rockies to include him in a deal. Cuevas has been a steady right fielder splitting time with Carlos Gonzalez. In 58 games this season, he has a .254 batting average and has shined on defense. Cuevas has appeared in 22 games as a right fielder and has a fielding percentage of 1.000 while showcasing his range as well. He is a versatile outfielder as he has also played nine games in left field and three in center. Another deal could include Ramiel Tapia and Jeff Hoffman. In three years with the Rockies, Tapia has established himself as a viable option backing up Charlie Blackmon. However, including Hoffman and Tapia in a trade package could spell long term disaster for Colorado depending on what the club decides to do with Blackmon in 2019.
General Manager Jeff Bridich should be prepared to do everything in his power to sign deGrom. The Rockies are one or two pitchers away from being competitors in the NL West. At the same time, Bridich should approach a potential blockbuster trade with caution. His trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays in 2015 was perhaps one of the biggest trades in Rockies history. If he approaches a deGrom trade with the same amount of gumption, the Rockies would be a force to be reckoned with. Last season, the Rockies acquired Pat Neshek and Jonathan Lucroy at the deadline. Unfortunately, Neshek didn’t work out and Lucroy signed with the Oakland Athletics in March. In signing deGrom, the Rockies would be receiving a distinguished pitcher who has the makings of the next best pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. If the Rox wish to see their season continue into October, signing Jacob deGrom should be priority number one on July 31.