Don’t look now, but the National League West is getting crowded again.
The volatile Arizona Diamondbacks refuse to take the reins of the division, leaving the Colorado Rockies just four games back at 43-42. Last weekend, the Rockies showed the Los Angeles Dodgers the division isn’t there’s for the taking, then they came home and swept the San Francisco Giants.
This surge leaves the Rockies part of a classic July ritual: the buyers vs. sellers debate. A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com took on the buyer vs. seller question for every NL West team and said the Rockies are “TBD.” It depends on how the team performs in some difficult upcoming series. Fair enough.
But Patrick Karraker of the MLB Daily Dish is already putting the Rockies “buyers” category. Not because he thinks the Rockies are primed for a run, but because “teams that are even vaguely in the playoff race at the deadline tend to operate based on hope rather than logic.”
Well, the Rockies are giving me permission to hope. I believe they should be buyers — albeit cautious buyers.
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The Rockies have the pieces to make a legitimate run at the postseason and play meaningful September baseball. The offense is slashing .271/.324/.458 in the last 30 days and getting contributions from all parts of the lineup. The bullpen is recovering from a miserable June. And the starting rotation has been stellar of late, posting a 2.34 ERA in the past 12 games.
So, the Rockies are cautious buyers. But what are they buying?
First of all, the biggest mistake would be selling the farm for a shot at glory in 2018. Top prospects like Brendan Rodgers, Garrett Hampson, Jordan Patterson and Riley Pint are off limits, as they should play a critical role in a (hopefully) multi-year contention window. As a result, don’t expect the Rockies to go after the sexiest trade targets.