The Colorado Rockies are slipping out of NL West contention quickly. Their offense, the catalyst for their success in the first half of the season, has stalled. Whether the impact of injuries to Tulowitzki, Fowler, and Gonzalez are finally taking their toll, or whether the dog days of summer are catching up to Colorado’s bats, the offense has disappeared. The perfect fix for a team that sputters near the trade deadline is a new face to revitalize the clubhouse. Unfortunately, for Colorado, and other teams struggling with a looming trade deadline, there is just not much out there.
The trade deadline has become a stressful time for GMs everywhere as it seems every year features a blockbuster deal. This year’s big deal thus far is the Yankees reacquiring Alfonso Soriano. No offense to Soriano, but this deal dwindles in comparison to deals of yesteryears: The Rangers sending Texeira to the Braves for Andrus, Feliz, and Saltalamacchia; Cleveland shipping CC Sabathia to Milwaukee for Brantley, La Porta, Jackson, and Bryson; Boston sending Manny to Dodgertown in a three-way trade that included Pittsburgh; and Cliff Lee sent to Philly from Cleveland the same day Roy Halladay arrived from Toronto that would send the Phillies to the World Series.
The Rockies have not been mentioned in any significant trade talks this season, and with less than a week to the deadline, a lack of action seems to be the course of action its front office is taking. To some this is a call for harsh criticism. A team overachieving and only five games out of first place should be worth trying to elevate to the next level with a good trade. Others see the Colorado Rockies for what they are. A small market team with a few big market names vying to remain relevant in their division. With a roster that yields three All-Stars, an aging potential hall of famer, and a trio of starting pitchers slowly coming into their own, the Rox are as lovable as any team in the big leagues. And the lovable Rox over achieving seems to have reached its peak
For those who entertain the idea of the Rockies as a playoff team this season, a trade would appear to be the answer. Getting a solid, experienced starter to help the back end of their starting rotation would help. De La Rosa and Chacin have carried the rotation thus far this season, and with Tyler Chatwood blossoming into a reliable starter, Colorado is a few arms away from stability. The idea is great in theory. But, looking at the trade market, the Rox aren’t likely to find what they are looking for with what they are willing to offer.
The lack of potential in the trade pool is irrelevant. Bottom line, the Rockies do not have all the pieces necessary to be a playoff contender. Nor do they have the means or goal of acquiring what they do need this season. As stated earlier, it would take the continuance of offensive dominance for the Rockies to push for a division title. Keyword there is push. In a twist of irony, the Rockies offense has become nonexistent at a time when their starting pitching finally appears to be solidifying.
Even at their best, which would require an offense performing near their first half level and pitching to the level that has been exhibited more recently, the Rockies would still be fighting tooth and nail for a playoff position. Fans can be disappointed and frustrated with the lack of action the front office has shown in the trade market. They can argue that the Colorado Rockies are but one good acquisition away from becoming a player in the NL West. However, when you look at the Rox with honest eyes, you’ll see the front office’s inaction this season is not due to a lack of initiative to improve, but to a lack of applicable options.
The Rockies have become one of the most lovable teams in baseball. Despite their small budget and being overshadowed by Peyton Manning and the Broncos, they continue to put together a solid squad year in and year out. Playoff potential exists in Denver. With a great core, the Rockies now need to add a few accessories to field a team that is capable of emulating the 2007 Rockies. With a trading block offering little, an offense that is returning to reality and a pitching staff that is still in development, Colorado’s race for the NL West appears to be ending. There season is looking like it will end similarly to the way the trade deadline is shaping up to end, uneventful.