Denver, CO. After suffering a sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, the Colorado Rockies need to look at the next steps in an already miserable season. Current trade rumors include AL West interest in Rafael Betancourt and Matt Reynolds. Is that all the Rockies are looking to do? The Rockies brass has stated that no trade offers will be taken for Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler or Troy Tulowitzki. With those three secured where should the Rockies look next to build a very young team into a contender for the future?
Pitching continues to the the biggest issue for the Rockies this season. Jonathan Sanchez was again ineffective against the Reds and may have lost his position as a starter in the rotation. Jeff Francis is the only starter with a winning record and is starting to look a bit like the Jeff Francis of 2007 and 2009 but is still a ways off from the dominant pitching he had in those years. Christian Friedrich and Drew Pomeranz continue to show they are rookies throwing way too many pitches and stretching the bullpen creating a lot of fatigue particularly for Matt Belisle. If the Rockies do trade Betancourt and Reynolds look for Rex Brothers to move into the closer role and potentially a recall for Alex White from the minors as he was named the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the week last week. If the Rockies do make a trade they will look for a young starter in exchange for either Reynolds or Betancourt.
Hitting and scoring runs has not been an issue for the Rockies this season as they are second in the NL behind the St. Louis Cardinals in runs scored. The Rockies also lead the league in first inning runs scored with the starters struggling to keep leads. Veterans Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer need to do their best to keep this young ball club from shattering and they need to continue to mentor the young group on the field. The season has also been a struggle for long time Rockie Todd Helton. Hampered by a hip injury Helton has been a shadow of himself and may be at the end of his career.
The future may be bright for the Rockies with many talented young players being given a chance with veteran injuries and ineffectiveness. Pitching will be the key moving forward for this team. If Pomeranz and Friedrich can continue to learn and improve, particularly at Coors Field, they may be the heart of a strong staff in the future. With the return next year of Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio, 2013 should look to be a better year, but again likely a playoff miss.
Denver Sports Chat – Kris Loco