"[A] healthy Tulowitzki is seriously about as good as Mike Trout."
Just going to leave that there.
Really, though ... there isn't one person who posts and/or comments on this site that doesn't know the Rockies will go as their star shortstop goes. If Troy Tulowitzki misses 50, 60, 70 games again, the Rockies will be at or near the NL West basement. If he manages to appear in 150 games? Not a likely scenario, but watch out.
My favorite part is Sullivan's take on the rotation: It "might not be dreadful." Along with the health Tulowitzki -- and to a lesser degree, Carlos Gonzalez -- that is the real wild card. If Jorge De La Rosa remains himself and the Rockies get even a small step forward from Tyler Matzek and Jordan Lyles, the team should be about 10 wins better than a year ago. Adding a healthy and productive Jhoulys Chacin could tack five wins onto that, and now we're talking about a .500 team.
The rest falls on the shoulders of Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. A lot has to click, but the Rockies could theoretically compete in 2015.
The question is: Do we want them to?
A lot of people around these parts and elsewhere believe the 2007 season was one of the worst possible things that could have happened to the franchise. The unexpected success of that year masked a ton of deficiencies within the organization, particularly its awful track record of developing pitchers and, aside from Troy Tulowitzki and Jeff Francis, a terrible history of high-round drafting.
The 2009 and 2010 teams were, even without Matt Holliday, much better equipped to win. The Rockies had probably the best position-player depth in all of baseball in at least one of those seasons and were competent at the top and bottom of the rotation, in addition to being just about lights out at the back-end of the bullpen. Unfortunately, things didn't quite pan out despite the team finishing 25 games above .500 over the course of those two years -- and the big league-level dumpster fire that has been ongoing since then.
Fortunately, it appears the Rockies have become better at drafting and developing players during that time. Maybe former general manager Dan O'Dowd deserves some credit there for retooling the minor league system, but the man now in charge of the Rockies was the one who presided over the lower levels of the organization.
That's where we sit now. Assuming its improved system pans out, Colorado could become a realistic contender sometime in the next two or three years. But, that year isn't this one. While it would be fun for the Rockies to make an unexpected run, many opportunities for improvement would go by the wayside if that were to happen, as was the case in 2007, when Colorado should have been better setting itself up for a more realistic run of contention a few years later.
Notice how Sullivan -- as well as I -- didn't mention players like Justin Morneau and Charlie Blackmon when discussing the Rockies' chances for 2015. That's because the team should have already cashed in those chips in exchange for future help. The opportunity might still be there, particularly if both players begin the 2015 season on a high note. But rather than trying to ride out their production after another successful first month or two of the season (hello, 2013 and 2014), the Rockies should be actively looking to move those types of players before their value spirals into oblivion. Maybe you won't end up getting much, but maybe you'll end up getting that solid back-end starter or key bullpen arm. We've seen it happen over and over again, and these are the types of risks Bridich and the Rockies should be taking.
Anyway, I could talk about Colorado's 2015 strategy until I'm blue in the face, but we've got a couple more months before we'll really know how things will unfold, so I'll save it for now. Have a great New Year's Eve, everyone, and thank you again for being part of our community.