Count the Colorado Rockies as a likely seller come trade deadline time, but maybe not quite as exciting a seller as the rumor mill would suggest.
For one thing, superstar outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has 17 home runs, 54 RBI and a .331 batting average, isn't going anywhere, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd said by phone.
"The Carlos Gonzalez thing is a joke,'' O'Dowd said. "We're not trading Carlos Gonzalez.''
Apparently, the whole Gonzalez "thing'' boiled down to one phone call of interest from Nationals GM Mike Rizzo. O'Dowd told Rizzo that Gonzalez wasn't available, and that was the end of it, according to O'Dowd.
The Rockies are 28-45 and in fourth place in the N.L. West as their pitching is struggling again with the Coors issue. Even with the humidor, the stadium is back to being a major problem, as the Rockies have a 5.38 team ERA, 30th among 30 teams in baseball.
The Rockies, however, do have other very good position players. And some of them very likely aren't going anywhere, either. Free-agent sign Michael Cuddyer (11, 47, .261) is another who's probably not leaving.
"I've had a ton of calls on Michael Cuddyer,'' O'Dowd said. "But I'm not trading him, either.''
The reason Cuddyer is very likely to stay is that the Rockies view him as a very nice player who's great in the clubhouse but even moreso because he's seen as a very nice but complementary players by most others, meaning no one is likely to overwhelm them with a trade offer. Of course, if someone does, well then, that could change that equation. O'Dowd has been known to pull off a blockbuster every now and then (the deal to acquire Gonzalez from the A's being one of those).
"Mike has been everything we wanted him to be and more,'' O'Dowd said. "But if someone's going to come along and make an offer like Cleveland did with (Ubaldo) Jimenez, I'm not stupid.''
O'Dowd also said he expects to keep young center fielder Dexter Fowler (10, 34, .284) but stopped short of calling him untouchable. Fowler has put it together since a demotion to the minors last year. "You've got a center fielder on pace to have 20 home runs and 80 RBI,'' O'Dowd pointed out. "I can't say for certain (we're not trading him) but we put a lot higher value on him than someone looking to acquire him.''
O'Dowd went on to say that he didn't see reliable relievers Rafael Betancourt (2.93 ERA) or Matt Belisle (2.03 ERA) being traded, either, as they have both of them under reasonable contracts. Though of course, relievers on losing teams can't be considered anything close to untouchable.
Unless someone overhelms them on Cuddyer, Fowler or one of the two coveted relievers, the only Rockies ikely to go are struggling starter Jeremy Guthrie, pinch hitter Jason Giambi (1, 8, .261) and middle infielder Marco Scutaro (4, 20, .276). O'Dowd acknowledged they can't expect a top prospect back for Giambi but is willing to accommodate him if he would like to be traded.
Guthrie needs a change of scenery as Coors Field is no fit for him. "His stuff is pretty darned good,'' O'Dowd said. "But he is now afraid of contact.'' The Jays, desperate for starters and recalling him from his A.L. days, talked to the Rockies but couldn't work out a deal.
Scutaro should draw some interest in a weak middle-infield market, but Troy Tulowitzki's injury gives the Rockies a need there for now.
It doesn't look like anything major's going to happen with Colorado. But O'Dowd has been known to have a surprise or two up his sleeve.