Rockies unlikely to be sellers as deadline approaches
In the wake of five straight wins, and nine wins in 10 games since the All-Star break, Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd characterized a trade for either star outfielder Matt Holliday or closer Brian Fuentes as "highly unlikely'' in an interview Sunday with SI.com.
In fact, O'Dowd said, "I would say we're more a buyer than a seller'' right now. The only way he could see selling at the moment would be if "the selling left me with just as competitive a club as we have now.''
In a switch, the Rockies actually have begun scouring the market for starting pitching. They have found it lacking, but might ultimately consider a cost-effective pickup such as Paul Byrd or Josh Fogg, the ex-Rockie.
Trade talks involving Holliday had stirred a lot of excitement and intrigue, but the Rockies have pulled to within six games of first-place Arizona in the weak NL West. They're buoyed by both their recent play and an incredibly favorable finishing schedule that includes seven games with Washington, nine with San Diego and six with San Francisco. The fact that the Rockies won an unprecedented 21 of 22 games to reach the World Series last season, with virtually the same team, must also give them hope.
O'Dowd did say they'd take the final few days before the July 31 trade deadline to monitor things, but that "unless we lose three games and we're nine games out of first,'' he's likely to remain more buyer than seller.
O'Dowd fielded inquiries from at least a half-dozen clubs about Holliday, who was second in the NL MVP voting last year. A trade for Holliday may be much more likely in the winter, when many more teams may be in the mix -- not just the contenders -- and interested teams may have more budget flexibility. The Rockies understand their chances to keep Holliday long-term are slim; he can become a free agent after the 2009 season.
The Mets, Angels and Phillies were among the teams O'Dowd spoke to about Holliday. Discussions with the Mets ended when O'Dowd brought up Carlos Beltran's name. A Los Angeles Times report suggested he wanted pitching prospect Nick Adenhart, second baseman Howie Kendrick and either Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana from the Angels.
The Marlins, Red Sox, Cardinals and Rays have been among the most aggressive of the many teams interested in Fuentes. O'Dowd admitted to purposely seeking a steep price, and to this point, he indicated he hasn't been offered anything to tempt him. The Rockies could replace Fuentes with Manny Corpas if a trade materialized, but it hasn't caused O'Dowd to lower his requests.
The Rockies have finally begun to resemble the team that played their way into the World Series last year. But O'Dowd is taking a cautious approach. He said, "It's hard to get too excited when we've been so inconsistent."