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Thursday Rockpile: What came in like a lamb goes out like a lamb...

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What we've learned about the Rockies this season:

 

  • They still shrink when handed the role of favorites.
  • Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are still awesome.
  • Jhoulys Chacin has a nifty future.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez has a nifty present.
  • Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook have entered an unreliable phase of their careers.
  • Todd Helton doesn't have much left in the tank.
  • On a related note, the entire right side of the Rockies has turned into an offensive sinkhole, and without one solid bat over there, the Rockies don't have much hope.
  • Without another bat, the Rockies will go only as far as their catchers take them. No other position shows as dramatic an offensive split in Rockies wins and losses than Miguel Olivo and Chris Iannetta. Both of them (Olivo .347/.382/.593 vs. .174/.234/.275, Iannetta .276/.396/.586 vs. .136/.255/.227) have been either unsung heroes or go 

 

What we haven't learned but sort of need to know

 

  •  Ian Stewart and Dexter Fowler were sub-optimal at the plate, but not to a point to easily classify them as replaceable down the road given that they're both two or three seasons from their peaks. Both are secure for 2011, but we need to know that they'll be bigger contributors over the next three or four seasons. If either could step up and take some of the offensive load from Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, it would be a huge help.
  • Will Jorge De La Rosa bolt as a free agent? And if not, what will the next three seasons (what I'm guessing the length of his contract will be) look like for him?
  • Who will be the Rockies starting second baseman in 2011? The Rockies have made it relatively clear that Clint Barmes can either stay in a bench role or try and find a starting job elsewhere next season, but the direction they intend to go instead is still a bit of a mystery. Neither Jonathan Herrera nor Eric Young have shown that they are much of an upgrade. I like to think Chris Nelson would be, but the team hasn't given much indication that they feel likewise.
  • How for real are our competitors? This isn't meant to disrespect either San Francisco or San Diego, both are quality teams that should remain competitive next season, but both have significant questions they will face in the off season as well. The Giants will need to re-sign or replace a couple of key offensive components of their current team, and the Padres also need a couple of major parts to really be competitive at the next level as team bullpen performance (one of their biggest strengths this year) tends to be inconsistent season to season. Fans don't like how the laws of capitalism effect their teams, but the Rockies moves will be dictated by their market, if San Francisco spends a lot, look for a busier winter from O'Dowd than if the Giants remain on the sidelines.