Colorado Rockies: Examining the worst-case injury scenarios
By Kevin Henry
I was in Miami last August when the Colorado Rockies were taking on the Marlins, reporting on the series as part of Rox Pile’s extensive coverage. Miami ended up sweeping the Rockies in the three-game series, but that was not the scariest thing to come out of Colorado’s time in South Florida.
In Sunday’s series finale, Nolan Arenado was hit in the hand by Miami starting pitcher Vance Worley. The entire Rockies fan base held its breath as Arenado exited the game, thinking the worst for the All-Star third baseman. Could this be the end of Arenado’s season and Colorado’s run at the Wild Card?
Thankfully, it was neither. Arenado returned as a pinch hitter the following night against the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field. Colorado went on to secure the second Wild Card spot in the National League, making the postseason for the first time since 2009.
However, that moment shows just how fragile a baseball season can be. Teams can often lose their stars to injury and be forced to tread water until their return. Some teams do OK, like the Los Angeles Angels, who went 19-19 while Mike Trout was out last season with a thumb injury. Others don’t, like the San Francisco Giants who reeled without Madison Bumgarner on the mound for nearly three months last season.
With that in mind, the question should be asked: What would happen to the Rockies if a long-term injury were to take out Arenado or Charlie Blackmon, arguably two of the biggest weapons in Colorado’s arsenal? It may not be something you want to consider, but it is a scenario to at least explore.
Two years ago, it was a thumb injury for Trevor Story that cut his season short. Last season, Ian Desmond was slowed by a broken hand in spring training and leg issues during the regular season. Jon Gray missed a lot of time with a foot injury. Rockies fans know injuries can happen, so let’s take a look and see what could happen if Colorado were to lose Arenado and/or Blackmon for an extended period of time.
The Rockies signed Chris Iannetta at catcher as their only position player signing of the offseason (thus far). Part of the reasoning behind that is the depth the Rockies have. An injury like we are discussing here would test that theory.