As we steamroll into the 2012 baseball season, there is always a massive amount of hearsay and conjecture. Emphatic statements are exclaimed, and intriguing questions are asked. That’s the beauty of covering a 162 game season for the Colorado Rockies. The plot lines and twists that will unfold on Blake Street this summer are impossible to predict, but captivating to witness.
It is our job to make bold exclamations and ask the tough questions. Then the fun part is to pontificate, marinate, and elaborate on how we think the Rockies will do this season.
Here are some exclamation points (!) and question marks (?) surrounding the Colorado Rockies 2012 baseball campaign.
There are a glaring number of new faces in the Rockies clubhouse this year! Will the roster turnover help or hurt the Rockies?
Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, Chris Iannetta, Ian Stewart, Ty Wigginton, Aaron Cook, Seth Smith, Matt Lindstrom, Jason Hammel, Ryan Spilborghs, et al? The Rockies had a disappointing year in 2011 to say the least. So in the off-season, Dan O’Dowd cleaned house, and signed a whole new cast of characters for 2012. Will Michael Cuddyer, Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Guthrie, and all the other newcomers help turn Rockies fans’ frowns upside down? Will the new additions change the culture of the clubhouse? Time will tell. But you can’t blame O’Dowd for trying to switch things up after last year’s dismal record.
Jamie Moyer, who is literally almost 50 freaking years old, is in the Rockies starting rotation! Will he able to still compete at the Major League level?
So far, not so good, as Moyer suffered a loss in his first outing. But in his defense, there was some shoddy defense being played behind him. Moyer performed well enough in spring training causing Jim Tracy to give him a genuine vote of confidence. And when he does record his first victory in purple pinstripes, he will become the oldest pitcher ever to win a baseball game. That’s pretty cool. Do you know what would be even cooler though? If Moyer could live up to his spot in the rotation and contribute to a winning team.
The third base position was a gaping black hole last year in the Rockies lineup! Can the Rockies fill that void?
Third base was an issue last year. Abbot and Costello would have been proud, because “I don’t know” actually was on third. The Rockies finally gave up on Ian Stewart. Wigginton played sparingly and but not that effectively. They dabbled with Chris Nelson, Johnathan Herrera and even let Jordan Pacheco get some playing time. Overall, the Rockies third basemen in 2011 combined to produce a .222/.280/.354 slash line with only 18 home runs. This season, a big question mark still looms. The Rockies signed Casey Blake in the off-season, but he is already cut. Chris Nelson started opening day, but he doesn’t provide much power. In fact, on ESPN.com right now, there are no third basemen listed on the Rockies roster. Who is going to step up, because the position has to be occupied by someone? We shall see.
Apparently there was more bad blood between Tulo and Ubaldo then we knew about! Can you believe these two ex-teammates become enemies so quickly?
Ubaldo Jimenez used to be a Rockies fan favorite. Now, because of recent events, he is probably Public Enemy Number One. After obviously intentionally plunking Tulo, he then ran to the Rockies shortstop ready to fight, acting like Tulo stole something from him. Then he didn’t apologize. Tulo didn’t steal anything from you Ubaldo. The Rockies just signed him to a contract extension, and they didn’t give you one, which in hindsight, is looking like a great decision.
Cargo and Tulo are two absolute studs in the prime of their career! Can they both perform at a high level simultaneously to spearhead a Rockies run to the playoffs?
Successful teams in the Major Leagues always receive production from the heart of their lineup. You don’t have to be Billy Beane to realize the #3 and clean-up hitters in any lineup are depended on to produce. The league’s elite teams generally have solid hitters in the 3 and 4 holes. If the Rockies want to contend, their leaders must lead, and Cargo and Tulo are the unquestionable leaders of this team moving forward. They both have he capability to post MVP type of numbers. But they have never really been crushing the ball at the same time. If both Cargo and Tulo can find their groove, the Rockies could be a legitimate force.
In almost 20 years of existence, the Colorado Rockies have never won the NL West! Is this the year they breakthrough, and capture their first-ever division crown?
Well, with their record at 1-2, if they stay on this pace, their final record will be 54-108. That’s not good. All kidding aside, there is always a chance for the Rockies to win the West, even though they are not the favorites this season. Last year, many prognosticators said the Rockies would win their division. Instead, the Rox severely underperformed, failing to reach their lofty expectations. This year the expectations are not as high. Perhaps with that burden lifted, they will be able to piece it together, and grab their first division title. It’s going to be a great time finding out!
Follow Zach Cohn on twitter @zscohn1.