The Dilemma for the Rockies in the NL West


When the Rockies were best known for the Blake Street Bombers and a gimmicky home field, the Denver Post’s Woody Paige suggested that the franchise go all-in on offense. Embrace Denver as a launching pad, stack the lineup, get pitchers with thick skin who do not care about their ERA, and try to beat teams 15-10. Be unbeatable at Coors Field and try to survive on the road.

With the installation of the humidor the Rockies are able to play normal baseball at home, even if Coors Field continues to be generous to hitters. At the same time they play a large number of games in pitcher friendly parks in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. This fact dooms any effort to just build a team that simply outmashes their opponents, because even the most intimidating offenses are neutralized by the thick air and vast outfields of those west coast stadiums.

So what kind of team should the Rockies build? In recent years they have attempted to stack the rotation and build rosters to win low scoring, nail biting games. The upside to this approach is the fact that any team benefits from pitching depth if they can truly build it. The downside is that the Rockies diminished their own home field advantage, becoming frustratingly beatable at Coors Field in recent years.

Is it actually possible to create a middle market team that is balanced enough to capitalize on an offensively tilted home stadium and still win enough games on the road in pitchers’ parks to win the division? It seems that is the dilemma the Rockies front office continues to face. For years they produced a ton on offense but did not pitch enough. In more recent seasons, to the surprise of many, the pitching was sufficient but they did not hit enough.

That brings us to the current offseason. The team signed Michael Cuddyer to address their lack of offense. If the lineup is indeed lengthened out enough to reestablish the team’s home dominance that is one step in the right direction. But now seemingly every writer and fan fears they do not have enough pitching. Something has to give, right?

Can the Rockies ever have the best of both worlds, or are they forced to go all in one direction or the other? That is the dilemma with the home parks of the NL West being on such extreme ends of the spectrum. If the Rockies are ever able to sustain success over a number of seasons, what will that roster look like? At the moment I’m not sure if anybody knows the answer to that question.