We have talked for weeks now about the Colorado Rockies making a push for the 2017 postseason. The lineup is certainly capable and the rotation shows promise … but will it really happen? Specifically, is this team built to win now?
MLB.com’s Thomas Harding had an interesting article recently about how the Rockies are holding on to their prospects (for now) and waiting to see if they could potentially be used as bargaining chips at the trade deadline on July 31. It’s an interesting theory and one that, as Harding points out, could work well or back the Rockies into a bargaining hole if the season goes south early.
There was one section of Harding’s article that really jumped out at me…
“No matter what the Rockies do, no one will look at the current roster and says it is better than those of the two National League West heavyweights, the Dodgers and the Giants, who have won the last five division crowns. The Rockies’ hitters stack up against anyone and the rotation is young and promising, but it won’t have veteran starting pitching or a top-of-his-game closer — two elements of teams that are darlings of prognosticators.”
It’s the same thought that has been bugging me for days now. We’ve watched the Dodgers and Giants address their lineup needs and spend dollars to bring in/keep two big-name closers in Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon. Meanwhile, Colorado has signed three players in Ian Desmond, Mike Dunn and Alexi Amarista, a deal that still hasn’t been made public.
Are any of those signings that could push the Rockies over the top in the division? On the surface, no. Even Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich told Harding, “I don’t think we have any illusions that we’re going to come out of this offseason as some perfectly positioned team.”
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Colorado fans are certainly wanting another sign that the Rockies are ready to contend now. That’s why any time an article is posted about Mark Trumbo, Chris Carter, Greg Holland or Joe Blanton, Rockies fans are rushing to it to see what was said … and hoping there’s a sign in there that the Rockies are bringing one or more of them on board. They’re looking for that exclamation mark on the end of this sentence, “We’re ready to compete for the division now.”
Without making a move to bring in “veteran starting pitching or a top-of-his-game closer,” are the Rockies really built to win now? With a lineup that includes Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, offensively, the answer is yes. But in a stacked division, is it a reality without another upgrade in the bullpen or rotation?
Signing Holland or Blanton (or Neftali Feliz) would certainly signal the Rockies are ready to compete for the division from Opening Day forward. If not, it sounds as if Colorado will need to stay in the thick of the race until the trading deadline and see what moves can be made then.
There is still more than a month until pitchers and catchers will report to spring training. There is still plenty of time for another signing or another move. Anticipation for the season is at a high for Rockies fans. They’re ready to return to the postseason for the first time since 2009. Is this the year it will be happen? One more signing could make the difference between “yes” and “wait until next year.”