How the Colorado Rockies could have won the 2004 World Series

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Vinny Castilla batting for the Colorado Rockies

DENVER – JULY 4: Vinny Castilla #9 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Detroit Tigers on July 4, 2004 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies swept the Tigers with a 10-8 win. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

2004 was not a banner year for the Colorado Rockies but it could have been, with some luck and a few minor moves.

The 2004 Colorado Rockies are not a team that anyone wanted to write home about. They finished the season in fourth place in the NL West with a record of 68-94, as only the Arizona Diamondbacks (three years removed from defeating the three-peat champion New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series) with a record of 51-111.

The Rockies offense was pretty good (100 OPS+ excluding pitchers hitting) but their main problem was their atrocious pitching staff. Their 5.54 ERA was dead last in both the National League and all of baseball by more than a third of a run (the Reds were next worst in baseball with a 5.19 ERA). The starting pitching got better after the All-Star break but they really couldn’t get much worse as they had an ERA of 6.16 in the first half.

The bullpen got worse as the season went along but for the season overall, the blame of bad pitching was equally shared as the starter’s had an ERA of 5.54 and the relievers had a 5.53 ERA.

However, entering the season, the Rockies did make some moves that were meant to improve the team. They signed outfielder Jeromy Burnitz, shortstop Royce Clayton, starting pitcher Shawn Estes, reliever Jeff Fassero, catcher Todd Greene via free agency, and traded for their 2005 Opening Day starter Joe Kennedy in a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.

But two of the biggest signings of that offseason were the signings of two players that were integral to the Rockies teams of the 1990s: reliever Steve Reed and third baseman Vinny Castilla. And that theme, along with some help of not having injuries, and a few minor trades would have helped the Rockies win it all in 2004.

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