When Dexter Fowler was traded from the Colorado Rockies earlier this off-season, we collectively shuddered at the thought of Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson manning the vast expanses of center field each day next season. Then we heard Carlos Gonzalez would move over to center field. Then everything seemed alright.
It made sense. In what was a surprisingly blunt and logical explanation, the front office said that CarGo hasn’t stayed healthy in left field anyway, so they might as well maximize the games he does play by shifting his elite defense over to center field.
It appears, though, that the Rockies have cooled on that plan, specifically with the acquisition of Drew Stubbs. And while shortstop Troy Tulowitzki‘s plan was always to have Stubbs take over the everyday job in center to leave CarGo in left, it sounds like manager Walt Weiss might be subscribing to that thought process as well.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes the following:
If the Rockies assembled their best lineup, it could be argued that Carlos Gonzalez should hit leadoff and play center field. Manager Walt Weiss calls that ‘a longshot.’ He wants CarGo in the middle of the lineup.
When center fielder Dexter Fowler was traded, Gonzalez was open to a move to center field. That was before the Rockies acquired Drew Stubbs. Given how important it is for Gonzalez to play a minimum of 140 games, it should surprise no one if the Rockies keep the two-time all-star in left field.
What all of this insists upon, of course, is that the team establish one spot for CarGo to play, be it left or center, and then never move him from there, ever. This is something the franchise has been dogmatic about the last couple years for reasons unknown. Couldn’t he start the year in left and shift over for some starts in center? If he can handle both spots (which he can, and right field to boot), is that seriously so crazy?
The best team the Rockies can field does have CarGo in center. It is no slight to the other guys in the outfield picture; it is simply a matter of how elite he is defensively. But because of injury concerns and other theories, it sounds more and more like the plan will be to run with Stubbs, Blackmon, Dickerson, or some combination of the three in center field this season.