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Thursday Morning Rockpile:

The National League seems to have separated into four tiers for the moment, with the Rockies on a plateau with the Phillies, D-backs, Braves and Cubs on the outside of the playoff chase. Of these teams, the national media (with some pretty solid reasoning) seems to see the Cubs and Braves as most likely to make a move on the four teams in front, with the SABR community sticking to Arizona as its darling. The Rox are still considered pretenders by both the gatekeepers and the statphiles. What still irks me is that the reality on the ground needs to be taken in regards to the D-backs' young hitting, same as it does with our own Chris Iannetta, which just isn't measuring up to expectations so far and those expectations need to be lowered accordingly. The same can't be said of the Dodgers' kids, who are fueling their chase for the NL West crown both on offense (Russ Martin and Matt Kemp) and in pitching (Billingsley). Heading back into divisional competition next month, it looks like it's going to take some seriously solid play to get past LA, but I really expect the Diamondbacks to fall behind the Rockies soon.

In order to overcome Los Angeles and San Diego, the Rockies need to avoid the stagger, stumble and fall the rotation took down the stretch last season, and in that regard, I see the team's start of Ubaldo Jimenez today as a very positive preventative step. After several starts, we know more or less what Taylor Buchholz will bring to the team in his starts, and overall it's not solid enough to dissuade me from thinking that a trade for a starter is in order.

We don't know exactly what U-ball will do, however, and getting him a start or two before the trade deadline will allow at least a window of evaluation before Dan O'Dowd is forced to pull the trigger on a trade. If Jimenez continues his late surge, then a trade may be unnecessary, while if he reverts to his early season AAA form, it should be a sign that his consistency still isn't up to snuff. That said, should we decide to keep Jimenez, given his performances against the Dodgers' AAA affiliate Las Vegas, I would highly suggest making sure he skips all Los Angeles series going forward.

The best news from the linked article by Thomas Harding is the possibility of finally ridding ourselves of Tom Martin from our bullpen when Fuentes is ready to be recalled. Please, powers that be, make this happen.

A couple of familiar pitching names that have been brought up with the Rockies are being dangled. Shawn Chacon could come back relatively cheaply, and Octavio Dotel is available for a seemingly stiffer price, given the published demand for his services. I'm withdrawing my support of a Dotel trade if the cost of talent gets too high. Relievers just aren't worth that much, and I don't think that Dotel is that much superior to Ramon Ramirez to make it worth it. Chacon's harder for me to make a qualitative call on as he really is having a solid season, but my gut and bias after he bad-mouthed the team on leaving the last time tell me no as well.