The time has come to let Carlos Gonzalez go.
It seems inevitable that the Colorado Rockies are eventually trade Gonzalez, when is the only question. Gonzalez, coming off a year when he hit 40 home runs is at his peak trade value, especially with all the money going towards free agent outfielders. He has two years and $37 million left on his contract which is very affordable compared to the $184 million that Jason Heyward got.
The list of teams most likely to conduct a trade and are currently interested in Gonzalez includes the Royals, Cardinals, Orioles, and Nationals, many of which have top-of-the-line pitching prospects.
So who would the Rockies acquire? Here is a look and see the potential returns:
Royals – The World Champion Kansas City Royals have no shortage of young, potential starting pitchers. The list includes 24-year-old Kyle Zimmer (injury plagued, diverse stuff), 22-year-old Miguel Almonte (very hard throwing, much room to grow, inconsistent control) and 19-year-old Ashe Russell (2015 #1 rounder, low 90s, great slider).
Most likely: Miguel Almonte
Most desirable: Ashe Russell
Cardinals – The St. Louis Cardinals had one of the best rotations in the MLB in 2015, and lucky for them, they have three top-of-an-organization pitching prospects: 21-year-old Alex Reyes, 23-year-old Marco Gonzales (grew up in Fort Collins, father is Rockies Single-A coach), and 19-year-old Jack Flaherty (very athletic, and above average velocity). Reyes is currently the #16 prospect in baseball. He has two legitimate swing-and-miss pitches in a 93-95 mph fastball that can reach triple digits and has an easy delivery that bodes well for his long-term health.
Most likely: Marco Gonzales
Most desirable: Alex Reyes
Orioles – In 2012, the Baltimore Orioles had the best prospect in all of baseball, now 23-year-old Dylan Bundy. He was hard throwing, big, tall – everything you would want in a pitcher. But, three years, one Tommy John surgery, and a whole lot of shoulder inflammation later, Bundy is now the 64th prospect according to MLB.com. If he can stay healthy, he still has the skill to be a solid front-of-the-rotation starter in the bigs. He still remains a top Orioles prospect despite his injuries, with 22-year-old Hunter Harvey (60th) up there too. Harvey, on the other hand, has had his fair share of shoulder and elbow problems. When healthy, Harvey has a three-pitch mix to miss a lot of bats.
Most likely: Toss up
Most desirable: Close one, but Hunter Harvey
Nationals – The Washington Nationals currently have the best pitching in baseball, 21-year-old Lucas Giolito. Giolito is an elite talent with the stuff, size and pitching mindset to develop into an ace. He consistently throws 94-96 MPH, with the occasional 100 MPH touch. The other two potential returns include 22-year-old Erick Fedde and 21-year-old Reynaldo Lopez. They are both have 93-95 MPH fastballs that sometimes touches 98 MPH, and dangerous secondary pitches.
Most likely: Not Giolito
Most desirable: Lucas Giolito
The player that the Rockies would hope for is Giolito. It’s unlikely but definitely not out of the question. However, many people in baseball were shocked when they saw Dansby Swanson being included by the Diamondbacks in the Shelby Miller trade.