The Colorado Rockies are in the home stretch of their 2014 Spring Training schedule. As one takes inventory of this team from the events of last year to the offseason acquisitions (or lack thereof) and the Spring Training results and position battles to date, it is difficult to look at the upcoming season through an optimistic lens.
Look, I want to see the glass as half full. I really do, but I struggle to find reason. Todd Helton has rode off into the Mile High sunset on the back of the horse the Rockies presented him with upon retirement. Dexter Fowler is fielding fly balls in the center field of Minute Maid Park for the Houston Astros. Jhoulys Chacin will reportedly miss the first month of the season, leaving Tyler Chatwood as the Rockies’ best righty and little to nothing was done to repair one of the least effective starting rotations in baseball this offseason.
Thanks a bunch, Monfort brothers. Appreciate it Dan O’Dowd. Can hardly wait — I’m stoked.
On Thursday, the Rockies had the Milwaukee Brewers on their spring schedule, but the ongoing position battles had to be on their minds. The most notable battle being that of the starting center field position and the fifth position in the Rockies’ pitching rotation.
Juan Nicasio, Jordan Lyles and Franklin Morales are competing for a starting spot in the Rockies rotation. One day removed from an effective Morales outing versus the Chicago Cubs, it was Nicasio’s opportunity. Although wild at times, Nicasio looked good versus the Brew Crew in 5.2 innings of work, allowing two runs on three hits.
The outfield race has heated up the last few days for the Rockies. Following a Charlie Blackmon walk-off two-out three-run shot versus the Cubs Wednesday night, Brandon Barnes welcomed his own opportunity to impress Thursday. Barnes finished the day 2-for-3, including his first home run of the spring season.
Despite the pessimism that a traditional lackluster offseason by management instills in Rockies fans, the glimpses of success a season ago must not be forgotten. Walt Weiss has a way of rallying the troops and getting them to play outside their potential, and the Rockies’ young guns are a scrappy group. Before the dog days of summer and a lack of depth on the roster spelled doom for the Blake Street Gang following the All-Star break, the Rockies were competitive in the NL West.
The Rockies’ chances of return to contention just may be a tad better than one in a million; so to quote a well-known film, “you’re telling me there’s a chance?”