Entering Wednesday, the Rockies have a 64-49 record, which is good enough for the second wildcard as they are 1/2 a game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. Nobody is really going to challenge the Rockies or Diamondbacks as the next closest team is the Milwaukee Brewers, who are six games back in the Wild Card but only 1 1/2 back in the NL Central.
In both 2007 and 2009 (the last two times that the Rockies were in the playoffs), they acquired pieces in August in an attempt to strengthen their teams for the rest of the regular season and into the postseason. I believe that the same will be the case this year. We’ll discuss some of the areas that the Rockies could address in the next three weeks or so.
The Rockies already addressed the bullpen with the addition of Pat Neshek before the July trade deadline but I believe that the still could add a bullpen piece this month. Especially if the Rockies bullpen continues the trend that they have had in August (6.12 ERA, Greg Holland blowing his last two save opportunities, a .327 batting average against them, .365 on-base percentage, and a .495 slugging percentage), Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich will definitely address the issue.
As it was with Ortiz and Contreras, I wouldn’t expect the trade to be a block-bluster move.
Some potential options that the Rockies could look at are Jim Johnson of the Atlanta Braves, Drew Storen of the Cincinnati Reds, former Rockie Jhoulys Chacin of the Pittsburgh Pirates, former Rockie Matt Belisle, who’s currently with the Minnesota Twins, Bud Norris and/or Yusmeiro Petit, both of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Brad Ziegler of the Miami Marlins, and Tyler Clippard of the Chicago White Sox.
The starting rotation
Back in early July, I said that I thought that the Rockies would get two starters before the trade deadline. Obviously, that didn’t happen as they didn’t even get one. Kyle Freeland is on the 10-day disabled list and Tyler Chatwood was recently moved to the bullpen in light of his struggled. Chad Bettis will soon be returning to the Rockies (most likely, some time early next week) but I still wouldn’t be surprised if they get a veteran, middle- to back-end of the rotation guy.
Some players that come to mind are Marco Estrada of the Toronto Blue Jays, Lance Lynn of the St. Louis Cardinals (if the Cardinals drop out of the race because they have surged in the NL Central as they are only 2.5 games behind the Cubs), Derek Holland of the Chicago White Sox, Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins, Andrew Cashner of the Texas Rangers, Ricky Nolasco of the Angels, or J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays (he is under team control through next season so he would be more difficult to get).
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A backup infielder
You may ask why I am saying an infielder for the bench but there is a reason: Pat Valaika should be starting and Trevor Story should be in Triple-A Albuquerque. Entering Wednesday, in his past 15 games (14 starts), he is hitting .154 (8-for-52) with a .214 on-base percentage and a .327 slugging percentage. In his past ten games, he’s been even worse as he is 4-for-34 (a .118 average) with one homer, two RBIs, 17 strikeouts, a .167 on-base percentage, and a .206 slugging percentage. On the season, he’s hitting .225 with a .299 on-base percentage .410 slugging percentage.
Valaika’s on-base percentage hasn’t been great (.292) but his average is a lot better than Story’s (.262) and his slugging percentage is great (.569) (only Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon have a higher slugging percentage on the Rockies than Valaika). It helps that of Valaika’s 38 hits, 20 are doubles or home runs.
You could also say that the Rockies need some bench help out in the outfield considering the injuries and struggles of Ian Desmond and Carlos Gonzalez but if anything, they will be on the bench and Bud Black will have an outfield of Raimel Tapia, Charlie Blackmon, and Gerardo Parra. That would be a lot better than with Desmond and Gonzalez.
Of the options listed, I would say that a reliever and a starter are most important but, as mentioned before, I was wrong about acquiring a starter before the deadline so I’m not holding my breath for one now. However, if they don’t acquire a veteran starter, I think that could be a huge problem for them in the playoffs (especially if they get to the NLDS).