When you’ve got two franchise cornerstone players like Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, you expect to win more than 73 games. Yer, that’s what happened to the Rockies last season. In July, they traded their ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians. However, that trade will help them out a ton in 2012, and the Rockies look to be at least a little bit better.
Depth Chart (as of 3/27)
C: Ramon Hernandez
1B: Todd Helton
2B: Marco Scutaro
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
3B: Casey Blake
LF: Carlos Gonzalez
CF: Dexter Fowler
RF: Michael Cuddyer
SP: Jeremy Guthrie
SP: Jhoulys Chacin
SP: Juan Nicasio
SP: Drew Pomeranz
SP: Tyler Chatwood
CL: Rafael Betancourt
There are a lot of them for Colorado, who retooled a lot this offseason. There’s a new face behind the dish in free agent Ramon Hernandez. The team has a new second baseman in Marco Scutaro, brought in from Boston in a trade. Free agent veteran Casey Blake is the team’s new third baseman. In right field, former Twin Michael Cuddyer has taken hold of the job. There are two new members of Colorado’s rotation in former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie and former Angel Tyler Chatwood. The Rockies also brought in a new bench player in former Cub Tyler Colvin.
Former third baseman Ian Stewart was dealt to the Cubs. Veteran starters Kevin Millwood and Aaron Cook left town as free agents. Bench bats Mark Ellis and Ryan Spilborghs also left as free agents. Catcher Chris Iannetta was dealt to the Angels for Chatwood. Utilityman Ty Wigginton was traded to the Phillies. Platoon outfielder Seth Smith was sent packing to Oakland. Pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom were sent to the Orioles for Guthrie. The team also traded a bunch of relievers, including Greg Reynolds (Rangers), Kevin Slowey (Indians, after not throwing a pitch for the Rockies), Casey Weathers (Cubs), and former closer Huston Street (Padres).
Drew Pomeranz, the centerpiece of the Jimenez trade, will be in the Opening Day rotation for the Rockies. Catcher Wilin Rosario, who doesn’t have any experience in the high minors, could get a callup sooner rather than later if the veteran Hernandez struggles. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon could get some time in the outfield this year. Third baseman Nolan Arenado is the heir to the third base throne, and the team actually kicked around giving him the Opening Day job at the hot corner.
Nothing much going on here. Alex White, also acquired in the Jimenez trade, could make a bid for the rotation if Chatwood struggles.
Nicasio is recovering from a fractured neck suffered last year when a line drive hit him in the forehead, but should be ready to go for Opening Day. Starter Jorge de la Rosa won’t be ready until midseason (at the earliest) after Tommy John surgery last year.
How much of an improvement will the Rockies rotation overhaul be in 2012?
Tulowitzki and Gonzalez do what they’re capable of (which is a 6 win season at minimum), the pitching stays strong, and the Rockies contend in the NL West.
Jeremy Guthrie is an unmitigated disaster in Colorado and has an ERA over 5.00. Todd Helton finally breaks down for good. Pomeranz struggles terribly and is demoted to AAA, where he continues to get lit up like a Christmas tree. The Rockies somehow win fewer than the 73 games they won last season.
I really don’t know what to make of this team. They look pretty decent on paper, but there are a lot of questions about them, mostly on the pitching side. They could win 90, or they could win 70.