The 411 On Potential Cubs Trade Partners: Rockies

USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies were projected to be one of the worst teams in baseball this year, but they've surprisingly stayed in the NL West playoff race. Will they make the moves to upgrade their pitching in order to take the next step?

Postseason Outlook

The Rockies are 2.5 games behind the Diamondbacks in a weak NL West and a whopping 7.5 games behind in the wild card. The wild card obviously seems like a stretch, so the Rockies are going to have to pull ahead of the rest of the mediocre teams in the NL West to make the playoffs.

Needs (likelihood to deal for position in italics)

Starting Pitching-High: The Rockies have struggled to fill the back end of their rotation. Jon Garland and Jeff Francis got shelled and then got shipped out, with Garland released and Francis sent to the minors. They're now trialing Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz at the back of their rotation. The Rockies need to find someone to fill the back half of their rotation and it wouldn't hurt for them to upgrade the front of their rotation either, as all of those starters are outperforming their career numbers.

Bullpen-Medium: Reports say the Rockies are looking at bullpen help and it makes sense because a couple of their top options (Matt Belisle and Edgmer Escalona) have struggled quite a bit.

Fits on the Cub Roster

Matt Garza is obviously the top prize in the starting pitching market right now, but speculation is the Rockies aren't interested in giving up top prospects. That seems like it'd remove them from the Garza sweepstakes, but they are reportedly scouting Garza. If they're trying to fill a rotation spot cheaply, then Carlos Villanueva makes a lot of sense and can move to the bullpen if the Rockies find other solutions. The Rockies have also expressed interest in Kevin Gregg and James Russell could interest them as well.

What's in it for the Cubs?

BA Top 10 Rockies Prospects

Sickels' Top 20 Rockies Prospects

Fangraphs' Top 15 Rockies Prospects

MLB.com Top 20 Rockies Prospects

Ranked the 22nd- and 21st best-organization for talent by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, respectively, this farm system seems to lack quality depth, particular after the graduation of Nolan Arenado. Centerfielder David Dahl is probably now the Rockies' No. 1 prospect now, but he's been banged up this season after destroying rookie ball last year (1.048 OPS). Dahl is seen as a possible five-tool player that can stick in center and should eventually develop good power. Trevor Story is a current shortstop (probable future second or third baseman) whose bat took a jump up in Low-A last year. This year has been very different for Story, who has really struggled with his bat in High-A (.618 OPS). Left fielder Kyle Parker is a former football player now focusing on baseball that crushed Low-A last year (.976 OPS) but has slowed down a bit in Double-A this year (.777 OPS). The last position player I'll mention is shortstop (future third baseman) Rosell Herrera, just because he's destroying Low-A (1.008) while showing a crazy power jump (14 HRs, never had hit more than 6) and a big boost in walks (12.4% BB%).

The Rockies do have some interesting arms, led by Eddie Butler, who is probably the biggest riser in their system. Butler was a sandwich round selection last year that's thrown fantastic between Low-A and High-A, posting a 2.01 ERA and a 8.5 K/9. RHP Chad Bettis was hurt last year and has struggled developing a changeup, but he projects as a mid-rotation starter or a closer type if he can't figure out his change. He's been solid so far in Double-A (3.73 ERA) but his peripherals are better because he's struck people out (8.8 K/9) and doesn't walk anyone (1.8 BB/9). Tyler Anderson was a 2011 first rounder that's now in High-A and performing decently (3.80 ERA). Another couple of guys that are well thought of are Tyler Matzek (3.79 ERA at Double-A with bad peripherals) and Jayson Aquino (limited action, 3.13 ERA in Low-A).

Who says no?

Matt Garza for David Dahl

Matt Garza for Eddie Butler and Chad Bettis

Carlos Villanueva and Kevin Gregg for Chad Bettis

Kevin Gregg for Wilfredo Rodriguez

From John Sickels: "Seventh round pick out of high school in Puerto Rico is stocky at 5-10, 200, but quite mobile, should develop into a good defensive catcher, has power potential, hit .319/.370/.452 in Pioneer League. Long-term prospect but quite interesting."

Overall Fit- Medium

Whether it's bullpen options or rotation options, the Cubs have some guys that could intrigue the Rockies. If the Rockies really aren't willing to part with top prospects, then Garza is off the table, but the Cubs' bullpen chips could still be on the table.

Next Up: Los Angeles Dodgers

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