5 Players The Colorado Rockies Should Consider Trading

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Introduction

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Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 MLB season has almost reached the halfway point, and the Colorado Rockies have surprised a lot of people with their performance so far. Picked by many to finish in last place in the National League West, Colorado is currently tied for second place, just three games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks.

At the start of the season, the common consensus was that the Rockies would be sellers before this year's trade deadline. However, with the team is very much in the mix for the division title, the front office now has to decide which way they want to go.

The Rockies don't exactly have a history of making a big splash at the trade deadline. The closest the franchise has come to a blockbuster trade was the ill-fated Ubaldo Jimenez deal in 2011 that hasn't really worked out for either side.

But for a front office in Denver that has been on the hot seat for a while now, picking up the right piece at the trade deadline could be the difference between celebrating the team's first division title or being out of a job. The NL West is up for grabs this year, and one move could make a huge impact.

Here are five players I believe the Rockies should at least consider trading. Some of these moves would be minor alterations, while one would represent a complete overhaul and change of direction for the franchise. Without further ado, let's get to the list.

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#5: Jeff Francis

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Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

Francis was recently demoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs after a string of rough outings. While it's unlikely that Francis is at the top of any team's wish list, he still has some value.

Francis is a strike-throwing lefty who would serve as an upgrade over the long relief man in most teams' bullpens. Getting out of Coors Field will likely help Francis keep the ball in the park, something that has been a struggle for him this year.

At this point, the Rockies pretty much know what they're going to get from Francis. It's time for the team to move on and give a younger player an opportunity.

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#4: Matt Belisle

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Anthony Gruppuso - USA TODAY Sports

Matt Belisle is one of the longest-tenured pitchers on the Rockies. He's been a member of the bullpen since 2009. That being said, it might be time to move on from Belisle.

Belisle's ERA has risen for the fourth consecutive season. In 2010, it was 2.93. In 2011, it was 3.25. Last season, it climbed up to 3.71. So far this season, it's 4.62.

Belisle is striking out just 6.23 batters per nine innings this year, the lowest rate of his career. A reliever with a rising ERA and a declining strikeout rate is not a commodity that good teams hold on to.

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#3: Todd Helton

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Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

If you read this article, then you already know that I'm not a huge fan of how much the Rockies have used Helton this year.

At this point in his career, Helton is, quite frankly, a below-average MLB first baseman, both offensively and defensively. If the Rockies can move Helton to a contender desperate for help at first base, it might help the team avoid an ugly dispute over playing time and retirement with one of the most popular players in franchise history.

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#2: Rafael Betancourt

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Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

There are just not very many good reasons for the Rockies to keep Betancourt.

Betancourt is making over $4 million this year and has yet to log 20 innings. He's an aging closer who has struggled to stay healthy on a team where the "closer of the future," Rex Brothers, has a preposterously fantastic 0.28 ERA on the season.

If the Rockies can move Betancourt for a prospect of even marginal value, they might be wise to pull the trigger.

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#1: Troy Tulowitzki

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Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

Let me start with the obvious: this is extremely unlikely for a number of reasons. Tulo is the face of the franchise, and when healthy, he may be the most complete player in all of baseball.

But here's the thing: The Rockies are going to hit and score a lot runs, with or without Tulowitzki. Carlos Gonzalez is one of the best outfielders in the game, Michael Cuddyer is having a tremendous season, and young players like Nolan Arenado, Tyler Colvin and Corey Dickerson have already shown flashes of their huge potential.

If the Rockies could move Tulowitzki for a quality defensive shortstop and a bushel of pitching talent, it might be in the best long-term interest of the team. As amazing as Tulo is on the field, the fact is he has missed a significant amount of time with injuries in six of his eight big league seasons. Putting the most talented shortstop in the MLB on the trade market would bring back a massive return, even with the injury risk.

The result of such a trade (ideally) would be a Rockies team that, while slightly less spectacular, would be far more consistent and less dependent upon a single (injury-prone) star player.

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