Shealy and Dohmann out, Affeldt and Bautista in

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Rockies weren’t completely silent.  The long-rumored Shealy trade has come to pass, as Ryan and reliever Scott Dohmann were sent to Kansas City for lefty Jeremy Affeldt and righthanded pitching prospect Denny Bautista.

So what are my thoughts?  Good.  Going into the deadline, I thought the Rockies should be neither buyers nor sellers.  Are we playing for this season?  No, though the Rockies are still in it, we’re not playing for this season only.  The Rockies are not in win-now mode; 2008 has been the year we’ve been pointing to all along as the year that the Rockies can really contend.  They appear to be two years ahead of schedule only because the National League is so mediocre as a whole that the Rockies aren’t very far out of the race.

For that same reason, though, the Rockies weren’t in a position to sell.  What’s more, there wasn’t a lot to sell.  Todd Helton is a veteran with a huge contract, but since his production has slipped and he’s not in his walk year the Rockies would have had to eat a huge chunk of his contract or get nothing in return.  Virtually everyone else on the team is young enough to still be considered a prospect, or bad enough that the Rockies wouldn’t gain anything by moving them.

So the one deal that did go down was a good one.  The Rockies sent off two players who they had little use for for a couple of guys who, well, they potentially could have use for.  Ryan Shealy, the key piece in the trade, is a first baseman who can hit for power and a decent average, but the Rockies already had a first baseman in Helton who does that (more like a good average and decent power for Helton these days, but whatever.)  Some would argue that Shealy is the better player, but money talks and the Rockies weren’t going to bench Helton in favor of Shealy, and Shealy was likely to fetch better prospects in a trade (might as well pay Helton to play for the Rockies than… pay Helton to play for soembody else.)  Scott Dohmann seemed to have outlived his usefulness to the Rockies as well.  The primary reason for this is the emergence of both Ramon Ramirez and Manuel Corpas as young, righthanded relievers with better stuff and more projectability than Dohmann, who at 27 is three years older than Ramirez and four years older than Corpas.  The secondary reason — and perhaps the more important one — is that Coors Field is no longer such a hitter’s park that the Rockies need to carry twelve pitchers all the time.  Once that became apparent, Dohmann mostly was on the Colorado Springs end of the MLB-to-AAA shuttle; during his time in the majors, Clint Hurdle could never seem to figure out how to use him.  Perhaps Buddy Bell will find something to do with him.

Jeremy Affeldt is a lefty reliever who hasn’t quite lived up to his promise, but he could be a decent swingman for the Rockies.  The problem is that the team now has four lefties in the bullpen, which is kind of overkill, so Ray King or Tom Martin might be shipped out in a waiver-wire deal.  Bautista is a young, power arm with a nasty curve and a great groundball ratio, but he hasn’t figured it out yet either.  Of course, the Rockies didn’t really give up a lot to get them.

Tonight, the Rockies won 4-2 as Aaron Cook finally got some run support, keyed by back-to-back homers by Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday in the third inning.  Behind that, Cook and Brian Fuentes combined on a four-hitter.  Cook did get in a couple of jams thanks to three walks and two errors, but he pitched well enough to win, and this time, he actually did.  With San Diego and Cincinnati both off tonight, the Rockies moved half a game closer in the West race and the wild card.  They’re now even with the Giants — and the Giants are getting pounded by Washington, meaning the Rockies will most likely be third in both the West and the wild card when the day is done.

Jayson Nix homered in an 8-4 win for the Sky Sox; Nix looked like he was beginning to come around in his last few at bats in the Nashville series.  Hopefully this isn’t just a temporary improvement.  Seth Smith was one of four Drillers to homer as part of a 4-for-6 night in a 12-7 win over Springfield.  Ian Stewart, Tino Sanchez, and new second baseman Christian Colonel also homered; Matt Miller, just demoted from AAA, struck out in his Driller debut.  Modesto had the night off.  Shane Lindsay struggled, but Asheville came from behind to beat Hagerstown 5-4.  David Patton picked up his fifth win in relief; he’s a sleeper prospect, with 57 strikeouts vs. only 18 walks in 56.1 innings and a 1.60 ERA.  EY Jr. and Phil Cuadrado homered for the Tourists.  It’s not over for Tri-City, but they’re up 8-1 in the ninth, so go ahead and pencil one in the win column.  Jeff Kindel hit his first homer as a pro to back a fine start by Aneury Rodriguez, who stands to get his third win of the season.  Finally, Casper beat Ogden 5-0.  Helder Velazquez went 3-for-5, but the real story was the pitching, which gave up just two hits in the win.  Watch out for Pedro Strop, who struck out the side in one inning in his second consecutive appearance; he’s got 22 K’s against just nine hits and two walks over 13 innings.

What a good night to be a Rockies fan.

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