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Can the Colorado Rockies Contend Next Season?

August 1st, 2014 at 5:00 AM
By Joe Lemere

Coors Field, Denver, mascot from Flickr via Wylio? 2006 Paul L Dineen, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

The Colorado Rockies chose to stand pat the day of the trade deadline despite being a last place team. That means the front office believes that when health is restored next season, the Blake Street Bombers can contend for a playoff spot. That kind of thinking also means a Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez trade becomes that much more unlikely. With everybody they can bring back coming back and most everybody healthy again, the team can be pretty good, but can they be contenders?

When both the pitchers and the position players were close to full health earlier this season, the Rockies were fighting for the division lead and were eight games over .500. Eight games seems like such a staggering amount now that the season has withered and died, doesn't it? Anyway, back in April, the offense was rolling, consistently giving Colorado fans tacos, scoring more than seven runs 10 times in that month alone. Charlie Blackmon was hitting near .400 and Troy Tulowitzki was player of the month. Ah, good times.

What made the early season success even better was the pitching wasn't as bad as it soon got. The ERA was 4.19, almost a full run better than it is now. The staff had a strikeout to walk ratio of 2.39, compared to the whole season K/BB of 1.85. The starters were the weak part of the staff back then, but even so, they went 11-7 in April. Now the starters are looking good and the bullpen is in complete shambles.

They were a good team in the early part of the season, can they be so next year? The starting rotation will (most likely) be Jorge De La Rosa, Brett Anderson, Jordan Lyles, Tyler Matzek and Eddie Butler. Anderson, De La and Matzek have been mighty consistent as of late and could carry the good play forward. Jordan Lyles was the Rockies best starter early on and hopes to come back to the Majors before the end of the season. If he ends the season on a high note, he could be good next year as well. Butler should start over Juan Nicasio and Franklin Morales, and the Rox will most likely be conservative with young fireballer Jon Gray.

That rotation won't win many games in the playoffs, but, if it remains healthy, should win plenty of games. The bullpen needs to be better next season. LaTroy Hawkins, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino and Boone Logan will be back next season, but everyone else should be sent down or shipped out. That leaves room for two or three new names to come to Denver and bolster an MLB worst bullpen. The Rockies obviously don't like making moves, but signing a few bullpen arms shouldn't be too big a shock to the system.

This lineup will always produce. Especially if Tulo and CarGo return. There will be few worries about the offense next year, but there are rarely many worries about the offense when you play half your games in Coors Field. The defense will be great, athleticism in the outfield and spectacular gloves and arms in the infield.

When healthy, the Colorado Rockies are one of the best teams to watch in the whole country. When healthy the Colorado Rockies will probably win around 80 or 85 games. Unfortunately, that just won't be good enough to get into the playoffs. Missing the playoffs will drive up discontent among the players (read Troy Tulowitzki) and the team will be back where they are now. If a few guys go down the way they did this year, the Rockies will be trying to avoid losing 100 games just like they are now.

Bottom line: The Rockies just aren't good enough the way they are currently constructed to compete for the playoffs. They need a change. Too bad they don't know that.

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