CarGo in Transit?

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants

Carlos Gonzalez is hitting a dismal a .196 for the season, the only Rockies hitter below the Mendoza line. For the 1st time this season, CarGo has now been benched for 3 straight games.

For a Colorado team that is unsurprisingly tops in the league in most offensive categories (1st in HRs and 2nd in Runs Scored), it’s a given that Rockies hitters have been feasting off of the cozy confines of Coors Field so far this season.  With the exception of Wilin Rosario, who is hitting .236, all other Rockies starters in the batting lineup are hitting at least .265 or better, with Tyler Colvin leading the pack with a .330 batting average. Well, almost all other. One glaring exception up to this point in the season has been team co-captain Carlos Gonzalez.

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Rockies are 1st in the league in HRs hit, and 2nd in runs scored (only behind the Atlanta Braves). #blessed #not

Barely even hitting .196, CarGo has now completely lost his everyday job in RF. Early in May, it started with being dropped down in the order, from cleanup to 5, to 6, to leadoff (in the hopes of finding some kind of spark), and now in recent weeks all the way down to 7. It has gotten so bad that manager Walt Weiss has even benched CarGo the past 3 games in a row, a missing variable in the thrilling sweep of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

CarGo, by his own admission, is pressing at the plate.

This is just really disappointing. You obviously prepare yourself all spring for the season, and to have to come out of the gates like this is really frustrating. I know I’m better than this right now, and I appreciate the fans still having my back, but it’s really tough right now man. I want to be able to put some good games together.

But whether CarGo will get an extended look again in the lineup remains to be seen. With Desmond Jennings earning his keep as a defensive stronghold in CF, Corey Dickerson developing into his own as an every day run producer, and Dexter Fowler now coming back from the DL, it’s hard envisioning just how much longer CarGo can keep himself in the conversation in Colorado. Rumors within the organization indicate that the club may entertain freeing up salary space by selling low on CarGo now, even if it is to a team within the division.

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GM Richie Ho is candid about such possibilities:

We’ve all come to know Carlos to be an All-Star caliber player who can make instant and constant impact within the game on both sides of the ball. We know that and we’re making sure that the people we’re speaking to is reminded of that. But with the modest momentum that we’ve garnered for ourselves here in June, it’s worthwhile to see just what we can do in order to continue propelling ourselves further in the right direction. And CarGo is our biggest trade chip to make that happen. We’ve admittedly been carrying excess outfielders since day one, and these past few weeks seeing Jennings and Dickerson taking advantage of increased playing time, and now with Fowler back – all that has made it a bit easier to come to grips with the possibility of trading CarGo away. We know he’s Popular here in Colorado, but we will certainly explore every possible avenue, especially the one toward acquiring a bona fide rotation arm that we’ve been seeking for since Spring Training.

It remains to be seen whether Tulo and CarGo will continue to remain together to be the dynamic duo like they have in the been past for the Rockies, but as he continues to be benched more or more, we’d have to imagine that it’s in the best interest of both parties for CarGo to wear a new uniform by deadline’s time.

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CarGo’s remaining contract: ’14 ($10.5M), ’15 ($16M), ’16 ($17M), ’17 (20M).

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Rockies Trade For Wily Peralta From Brewers

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In what turns out to be the 1st trade in the MMB for the 2014 season, the Colorado Rockies has struck early in landing 25 year old RH Starting Pitcher Wily Peralta from the Milwaukee Brewers. In exchange, the Rockies sent LHP Christian Friedrich, OF Rainel Rosario, and OF Brian Humphries to the Brew Crew.

For a club that seems to be condemned to repeat last year’s polarizing combination of really really good hitting with really really bad pitching (Rockies are last in the league in SP ERA and runs allowed), this trade seems like a necessary, albeit pressing, move for the Rockies.

 

Rockies GM Richie Ho explains:

Even for all the offseason moves that we thought would be able to at least marginally improve this team’s pitching and defense, it’s no fun waking up every day to see that we are still mired with extreme futility in those respective categories. No club can win on just offense alone, even for ours. I don’t know and don’t care how it was done last season (I wasn’t here), but I don’t want to carry forward with that formula again. So adding Wily Peralta to our mix at this early juncture is our way of proving that we are committed toward continuing to improve this team pitching and defense-wise. Not at whatever it takes, but those two factors has and will always be our two primary objectives. We’ve always been impressed with Wily’s stuff, and we like his potential and pitching repertoire enough to believe that he can pitch well for us. Giving up two major league ready guys in Friedrich and Rosario was necessary to get this deal done, and I wish them all the best with their new roles in Milwaukee.

Christian Friedrich The southpaw Christian Friedrich started 25 games at the back end of the Rockies rotation last season, posting a serviceable 4.74 ERA with a 7.4 K/9. This season, Friedrich has been bumped from the rotation after the team went out and acquired RHP Alex Cobb – but Friedrich has been honing his craft at AAA to a 3.38 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. At 26 years old, Friedrich has little left to prove at the minor league level.

rainelDominican Republican outfielder Rainel Rosario (pictured right) is ranked the 7th best prospect in the Rockies’ system. The 25 year old has been hitting .274/ .355/ .437 at AAA, but stands a tough test in cracking the Rockies’ 25 man roster with the team’s crowded outfield. Likewise, Rosario has little left to prove and can ostensibly contribute at the major league level right away.

Brian Humphries still has plenty ways to go to develop as a reliable big league player. Scouts admire the 24 year old’s hustle and hard working nature.

As for Wily Peralta, the Rockies figure to insert the right-hander immediately into their rotation. He will be tabbed to take the mound some time next week at home against the Giants. Also tabbed to start next week will be club ace Jorge De La Rosa, who has just completed his rehab stint at AAA after being out for close to 3 weeks with a strained shoulder. These two additions will hopefully be able to help a flailing Rockies team, currently dead last in the NL West with an 18-24 record.

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Rockies Promote 3B Nolan Arenado

It’s official: 3B Nolan Arenado’s contract has been purchased from AAA, and will be traveling to Coors to make his major league debut against the Texas Rangers tonight.

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Nolan Arenado has been hitting .242/ .295/ .417 through 30 games at AAA.

It’s been a long time coming for Arenado, as fans around the league have been heralding the promotion of the 23 year old prospect ever since Spring Training. But with a strong 2013 minor league campaign coupled with a lackluster Spring Training showing, Arenado was shuttled back to AAA to start off the season and told that his time would soon come.

GM Richie Ho has high hopes for the rookie set to embark on his major league career.

I think we just about waited as long as we could, and like enough of what we’ve been seeing from him so far this year at AAA to justify his promotion. There are a lot of guys who were, in my estimation, rushed up to the bigs right out of Spring Training this year – and unsurprisingly, they’re struggling to hang on right now. And that was our biggest fear with Nolan. We all know that his glove is ready, but ultimately we wanted to make sure that his bat was ready for this upper level – with or without Coors. And as far as what he’ll bring to this team, I think he’ll make an instant impact for us over at 3B. Everyone down in the minors know just how good of a defender he is, so we have no doubt that he’ll be able to be an above average 3B for us at the hot corner.

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Rockies management has deemed Arenado to be ready for a full time gig at the major league level.

For a team ranked 10th in the league in defensive efficiency, there’s no question that the Rockies could use some better defense playing behind their pitchers. And needless to say, Arenado’s promotion will effectively end the Michael Cuddyer experiment at 3B. In 15 games at 3B, Cuddyer has a -1.2 ZR and .929 EFF. Cuddyer will now re-assume his old role as bat off the bench and backup to Tyler Colvin at 1B.

Arenado is grateful to have finally received his promotion.

It’s great knowing that all your hard work has paid off. Some guys work all their career without ever being promoted to the bigs, so to have finally got it is very special for me. Obviously, I intend to stay up here for as long as I can, and will do all I can to prove that I belong here.

Arenado will be debuting in front of the home field fans tonight at Coors, playing 3B and hitting 7th.

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POST GAME UPDATE:

Arenado went 1-4 and recorded a double for his first ML hit, in a 1-6 Loss to the Texas Rangers.

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Double Jeopary, Rockies Lose Hottest Hitter In MMB

Chicago White Sox v Colorado Rockies

Charlie Blackmon has been the hottest hitter in all of MMB: he leads all hitters with 33 hits and a .458 batting average. Charlie will now be out for the rest of the season.

The Rockies thoroughly routed the visiting Philadelphia Phillies yesterday in the 14-3 win, taking 2 of 3 in the series. But the general mood in the clubhouse could hardly be celebratory. Missing in the post-game was OF Charlie Blackmon , who was diagnosed after the game with torn ankle ligaments after attempting to make a defensive play in the game. The devastating injury would put Blackmon out for the better part of the next 5 months, essentially ending his season effective immediately.

It has been an unbelievable start of the season for Charlie Blackmon. After putting up a banner year of .290/ .337/ .460 last season in 122 games, Charlie sought out to be even better this year. For these first 3 weeks of the season, Charlie Blackmon has been leading all of MMB in Batting Average (.458) and hits (33).  Blackmon just hasn’t been feasting at Coors, his slash on the road (.475/ .488/ .750) is even better than that of his at home (.438/ .438/ .688).

Team captain Troy Tulowitzki is overwhelmed at the news:

I don’t think it can be said just how game-changing having Charlie at the top of our lineup has been. Day in, day out – it’s seems as if there’s nothing that can cool him down at the plate , and I wouldn’t have a hard time believing if he was able to sustain this for the rest of the season too. So it’s definitely a huge blow not only to him, but for our team as well. Whenever you have a guy like that who’s been working so hard to make a name for himself, and to have his season cut short because of a freak injury – the game can just be very cruel at times. You hear this stadium go crazy wild the last few days for him – he’s won everyone’s hearts and have done so much for our team. As much as we’re supposed to move on from this and keep our focus on the future – it’s going to be hard not having him in our lineup anymore.

Blackmon didn’t waver tonight, as he went 2-2 with 2 runs scored before going down. Not only will the Rockies be out of a leadoff hitter, they will be hard-pressed to find a LF who has been as solid defensively as Blackmon was. In 98 games in LF last year, Charlies posted a +4.3 ZR with a 1.039 Defensive EFF.

Charlie himself, doesn’t know how to take in his new reality:

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado RockiesIt’s certainly been a very grim couple of hours for me. I just don’t know how to think at the moment. I’ve been blessed enough these last few weeks to be at the pinnacle of success, and then now – it’s a complete 180. What hurts the most is knowing that I won’t be able to play alongside these guys anymore for the rest of the season. We have a really special group of guys here, and after seeing how far we went last season, I’m convinced that we can build on our success from last year. I’ve never been a passive guy, but I guess all I’m good for will be to just cheer these guys on for the rest of the season. I just called up my dad to tell him the news a while ago. He told that you can’t really be beating yourself up at this point. There’s no good in thinking about what could have been, and what I could have done differently. I guess I’ll just have to stay positive, as hard as it seems right now.

GM Richie Ho is frank about the situation:

One day after finding about DLR’s 3 week injury, we get hit with this tonight. Good teams play through injuries, but to Charlie’s credit, he’s been a big part in keeping our team competitive thus far. Maybe he can help us again should we make the playoffs, but it’s fair to say our staff is not thinking about that right now. I’m not going emo or anything, but it’s hard to be positive at a time like this. We just have to make do with the guys that we still have left. That’s just the truth for us right now, and we’re gonna have to face it. I trust that we’ve prepared our team enough to be well-equipped to fill Charlie’s void for the rest of season.

The most likely choice would be Desmond Jennings, who will now be more than just a platoon player in CF with Dexter Fowler. Also will be in the mix is Corey Dickerson, who is looking to translate his pinch-hitting success into more playing time. That will have to wait in the mean-time though, as Dickerson was also injured tonight, and is day-to-day with hip soreness. Also injured in this game was Phillies set-up man Octavio Dotel – whose diagnosis is pending at the moment.

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Jorge De La Rosa Out For 3 Weeks

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies

It took 3 suspenseful days, but the injury diagnosis is finally confirmed for Jorge De La Rosa – the Rockies’ LHP will miss 3 weeks with a strained shoulder. The 33 year old, on the last year of his contract, has been stellar in the first 3 weeks of the season – pitching 24 IPs in 4 starts, with 24Ks and 9BBs, good for a 3.00 ERA.

In a rotation that is 13th in the NL in ERA (4.26), the loss of DLR will be that of a significant one for a reeling Rockies team – having gone 4-6 in their last 10. As for who will be filling in for DLR’s spot in the rotation, it has been confirmed this afternoon by GM Richie Ho that RHP Jhoulys Chacin will be recalled from AAA in time for tomorrow’s game vs the Giants.

Chacin’s fall from grace has been well documented. After missing close to 4 months earlier last season with shoulder inflammation, Chacin was never quite the same – finishing the year with a 5.15 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 50.2 IPs. Even more startling this season, was that not only was Chacin a long shot to make the Rockies rotation, his spot on the active roster wasn’t a lock as some thought it would be. By the time that season had started, Chacin found himself in Colorado, but this time with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox – the AAA affiliate of the Rockies. The early goings has been successful for the Chacin: in his two starts this season in AAA, he went 8 IP each time, logging a 2.81 ERA in both starts. However pitching in Coors will still be a challenge, but perhaps management is counting on Chacin to draw on his past experience to guide him to better success this time around.

Said GM Richie Ho:

A lot of what went into picking Chacin to fill in for DLR is exactly what you’re saying: his experience here with the team, and pitching in the major leagues – especially in Coors. We know how much it hurt him to have not made the club out of ST; but we did leave the door open there for him, should anything happen, and contingent on how he pitches down there in AAA. Needless to say, we know what he’s capable of, and we’re sure that he’s a big enough of a competitor to take advantage of this opportunity. That was the primary reason why our staff chose him over Tyler Chatwood. Tyler has been great in his own right too, but we feel like Chacin’s experience is better suited for our club at the moment.

Chacin will be on the mound at Coors tomorrow, facing Matt Cain of the Giants. The 26 year old tells us he can hardly wait:

Man, to tell you the truth, I’ve been ready to go since Spring Training. It really sucked to not have made the team, because I thought I really pitched well in ST [4.09 ERA in 11 IPs, 12Ks]. I’ve been feeling really good down in AAA, and it’s gonna be a fun one tomorrow. I want to show the team just how good of a pitcher I am, and why I belong in the major leagues. Those Giants better get ready!

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Michael Cuddyer To See Time at 3B

Michael Cuddyer will be making just his 3rd start this season, at 3B for the first time tonight.

Amidst a 1-4 road trip and a 3 game losing streak that saw the Rockies outscored 14 to 4, the Rockies are hoping that their bats will be able to come alive soon. And tonight it starts with veteran Michael Cuddyer making a start at 3B. Cuddyer was signed this season to a team friendly 1 year/ $2.6M contract, after hitting .291/ .343/ .465 in 84 games with the Dodgers. He was expected to share time with Tyler Colvin at 1B, but has been mainly kept on the bench to this point, due to the scorching hot bat of Colvin’s. Cuddyer tells us how he’s managed to persuade Manager Walt Weiss to try him out at 3B.

It’s still early and I’ve been playing long enough to see these kind of cold spells before. Sometimes, the best change is to have no change at all, and to just stay the course. But I’ve been talking to Walt to see if there’s anyway for us to find some kind of a groove with our lineup. I take groundballs at 1B and 3B every day anyways, so that’s how the initial suggestion came about. Pacheco has been doing fine for us so far, and I don’t want to force anyone’s hand, but I just want the possibility to be there you know? If Walt and the guys want to make a call on me to play 3B, I just want to reassure that I’m fully ready and willing should the opportunity comes up. It’s not about me, it’s about what’s best for the team.

And that first opportunity will come tonight, as Michael Cuddyer will make just his 3rd start this year (the first 2 at 1B), at 3B, in place of Jordan Pacheco. Pacheco has been the everyday 3B for the Rockies thus far, but is only hitting .204/.291/.286 after going hitless in the last 5 games.

GM Richie Ho is aware of the significance of this change:

We’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and we just think that it would not hurt for us to go down this avenue, at least in the very short team. We have no qualms about the production that Michael Cuddyer can provide for us when he is in the lineup – but at the same time, he is 35 years old, and as a staff, we need to be mindful of putting him in a position and mindset that will allow for him to help us the most – offensively and defensively. We’ll see how it goes and take it from there.

This move also sends out an important message 3B prospect Nolan Arenado, who is hitting .255/ .340/ .426 at AAA. With this Cuddyer transition, any rumors of an early promotion of Arenado would now have to be tabled.

Here is the Rockies’ lineup for tonight’s 3rd game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

  • Cuddyer will be at 3rd, and hitting 5th.
  • Tyler Colvin will resume 1B duties, after given a day off yesterday. Colvin (.353/ .404/ .725) just saw his 10 game hitting streak snapped in Monday’s 0-4 loss against the Padres.
  • Carlos Gonzalez, who is struggling mightily to find himself at the plate (.161/ .221/ .210), will be given his first breather of the season.
  • In his stead in RF, will be Corey Dickerson making his first start of the season. Fans and critics around the league have been heavily pushing for Dickerson to see more playing time, as he is hitting .375/ .583/ 1.500 with 3 HRs in 8 AB – all of them being off the bench.
  • Dickerson will be batting in the 2 hole behind the red-hot Charlie Blackmon, pushing CF Dexter Fowler down to the 7th spot.

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Rockies Take 3 of 4 in Miami; Take on Red Hot D-Backs in Home Opener

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With 2 outs in the top of the 9th last night, Tyler Colvin – .417/.533/.833 – tied the game with a solo shot off Marlins closer Mike Dunn.

It has been a very fruitful first series for the Colorado Rockies under new GM Richie Ho. In this first series against the Marlins in Miami, the Rockies saw all facets of their game firing on all cylinders. In the series, the Rockies outscored the Marlins 22-12, hitting a combined .258 as a team and getting on base at a.337 clip. More reassuring has been the Rockies pitching, where the 4 starters have combined for a 2.51 ERA and the bullpen pitching in for a 1.93 ERA. Although the real test is about to come when the Rockies return home tonight, let’s first take a look back at the wild 4-3 win that the Rockies secured last night in a 12 inning battle with the Marlins.

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It was a good pitcher’s duel for most of the game with southpaws Drew Pomeranz and Chris Capuano. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th, and with 2 outs facing nasty Marlins closer Mike Dunn, Tyler Colvin was called on from the bench and promptly crushed a pitch over the fences to tie the game for the Rockies. From then on, the Rockies relied on 2 IPs each from the solid trio of Rex Brothers, Rafael Betancourt, and Jon Rauch to hold down the game until Carlos Gonzalez doubled home the go ahead run in the top of the 12th inning.

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Tyler Colvin, the hero of the game, who along with the tying HR, also had 6 RBIs in the first four games is wary of what lies ahead for the club at home.

It definitely was a fun win last night, and anytime we can come behind to win like that, it means all your hard work has paid off. I’m ecstatic to finally play in front of the home crowd, but it’s going to be a tough series against those Diamondbacks. We’ll take ’em on though. That 5 game winning streak of theirs end tonight!

Divisional rival D-Backs are off to a 5-1 tear to start off the season, and have won 5 straight games after losing their 1st game in the Australian doubleheader match against the Dodgers. As robust as the Rockies look to be offensively on paper, this is a D-Backs team that brings plenty of big bats to Coors – hitting .280 as a team with a .355 OBP. Playing in Coors, the Colorado Rockies will have their hands full stifling this lineup.

Tonight, LHP Christian Friedrich will be on the mound for his 1st start of the season against RHP Josh Collmenter.

 


 

Obligatory Alex Cobb Update:

After missing 3 weeks with a sore shoulder, Alex Cobb returned to action last night in a rehab stint for the Rockies AAA affiliate – pitching 7  innings with 3 earned runs given up. With this solid outing, all signs point to Cobb being inserted into the Rockies rotation as soon as the next week.

 

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