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Thursday Rockpile: Mostly dead isn't all dead, but it's still mostly dead

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All season long many here, and I've been inclined to believe them, have been pressing the point that the Rockies can't rely on miracle runs from


here

9

Lost 8

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to squeak into the playoffs at the end of the season. But.., uhm, yeah, that plan, the one with a smooth and easy ride to the team's first division title ever seems to have derailed slightly. Relying on said miracle is once again all we have left for 2010. So uh, yeah, carry on with the miracle boys. There's no pressure anymore, I don't think anybody's expecting much from you now.

In the meantime, the pragmatists among us (this should hopefully include Dan O'Dowd, while Jim Tracy can remain in the hopeless optimist camp) start looking to 2011, and for this a hard look at what's handicapping the franchise needs to be considered.

Offense has been an issue all season, no? Here's the Rockies MLB rank in wOBA in the eight non-pitcher positions:

  • Catcher: 1
  • First base: 18
  • Second base: 22
  • Shortstop: 1
  • Third base: 12
  • Right field: 23
  • Center field: 12
  • Left field: 5

Let me be very blunt. If the Rockies fail to make the playoffs in 2010, it will be because three of their veterans they were relying on to be better than the naysayers were claiming they'd be, failed to even be mediocre offensively. People are getting on Todd Helton a lot this year, but to me, Brad Hawpe is the biggest contributor to the team's current position.

If we're looking at 2011, the Rockies simply can't afford to be nostalgic about all three of the Helton/Hawpe/Barmes trio anymore and must seek out consistent league average or above offense for a couple of these positions. I think the Rockies can be safe keeping one nostalgic laggard, and given his face of the franchise status, that would seemingly be Helton, but in order to do so they need to excise Hawpe and Barmes, or at the very least reduce the latter's role to utility. I know this is stuff many of us have been calling for, but until Hawpe's offensive breakdown, it wasn't as necessary for the team's playoff chances as it's become since.

What this means is that O'Dowd is absolutely correct in shopping Hawpe ahead of this weekend's trade deadline, and he should probably take the best available offer so long as it's a more likely MLB contribution than a typical supplemental round draft pick.