Troy Tulowitzki was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, adding another name to the list of victims of the injury bug. The Rockies played Tuesday without their superstar, and with recent trade winds swirling around, they may just play next season without their All-Star shortstop. That game, a 7-4 loss at home to the Washington Nationals may provide a glimpse at a Rockies' future without Tulo.
Obviously one game doesn't say all that much, but it could have some features next years squad carries into next season. First off, if Tulowitzki does get traded, the Rockies won't have to wait long to find another star infielder to become the team's flag bearer. Nolan Arenado has star potential, and barring injuries, seems poised to reach that potential rather quickly. In Tuesday's game, Arenado blasted a homerun to the deepest part of the ballpark with two outs. Already in his young career, Arenado has proved to be a clutch hitter who seems to relish the opportunity to come through in crunch time. Rockies fans will surely miss Tulo, but if Nolan Arenado plays the way he can, they won't miss him for long.
Another aspect of next year's Rockies will be steady production from whomever is manning first base. Justin Morneau has a career's worth of evidence to that fact and he should have been an All-Star this year. Without the neck injury that put him on the DL, he would be continuing his stellar play. Morneau going down did open up the 3 for rookie Ben Paulsen. In just his first two games in the Majors, Paulsen is proving he belongs. Batting .500 and providing solid defense, if he keeps it up, he'll be a part of the plan for the future. Either way, first base will be solid moving forward for the Blake Street Bombers.
What will come with the dawn of next season is a healthy starting rotation. The Rockies have been pitching well to start things off the last few games, and with the talent of next year's potential rotation, that trend should hopefully continue next season. Unfortunately, the bullpen has blown everything they've been given the opportunity to blow. Unless there is a major shakeup of the 'pen, that trend will carry forward, too. The good news is the bullpen has been so bad that there has to be at least a few moves made to sure it up. The bullpen as it stands is not just awful, it's embarrassing.
It will certainly sting if Troy Tulowitzki isn't with the team heading into next season, but things won't be all that bleak. The outfield has depth, talent and athleticism. The infield should be good defensively, and if Arenado takes that next step, just fine offensively. The starting pitching will get healthy and the bullpen will get blown up. Things will look pretty bright in the Mile High City next year. And that's not even counting what the Rockies would get back in the Tulo trade.
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Tags: Baseball, Ben Paulsen, Colorado, Colorado Rockies, Justin Morneau, MLB, Nolan Arenado, Troy Tulowitzki
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