As we established on Wednesday, the Rockies' first-half was filled with solid individual performances, but widespread injuries combined with the regression of just about everyone who threw a pitch from the beginning of April until now have contributed to a disappointing 40-55 record through 95 contests.
So we know Colorado was bad -- and a lot of times, completely unwatchable -- for the first three and a half months, but what should we expect to see throughout the next two and a half? One thing (person) that we definitely won't see is starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, who will miss the rest of this season and likely all of 2015 after it was determined that he needs Tommy John surgery.
That doesn't help the Rockies' chances of being a whole lot better going forward than they were before the All-Star break, but some improvement should still be expected, health permitting. Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson are back from injury and will surely provide a boost to a team that has won just 18 of its last 60 contests. However, some of the players who were used to fill in for the aforementioned trio might not be around too much longer if the Rockies do what most people believe they should and become sellers at the deadline.
We've outlined the possibility of the Rockies dealing bench depth such as Brandon Barnes, platoon-starters like Drew Stubbs and even the team's current best starting and relief pitchers, Jorge De La Rosa and LaTroy Hawkins. Barnes, Stubbs and Hawkins are sell-high candidates and should be seriously considered as tradeable chips by the front office. Charlie Blackmon falls into that category as well, though the Rockies would be more reluctant to part with him, even though he might be the biggest sell-high candidate of them all, because of his All-Star and homegrown status.
Of course, those are just the more minor players who could find themselves on the trading block during the next two weeks. Less likely but infinitely more interesting candidates who have been attached to varying degrees of trade discussions include Justin Morneau, Carlos Gonzalez and, yes, Troy Tulowitzki. Those three players aren't likely to go anywhere, though Morneau and Tulowitzki could net the Rockies maximum value. Gonzalez would be a sell-low candidate at this point, giving the Rockies an even bigger reason to hold onto him. In any case, the ideal scenario would have Colorado not doing anything with either of these three players until a person who can appropriately determine their value is brought into the organization. That isn't likely to happen anytime soon, so that trio -- or, at least, Gonzalez and Tulowitzki -- should remain untouched.
On the field, there are some things to look forward to, even beyond a miraculous return to .500 or better. Eddie Butler should be done rehabbing his elbow injury soon and will likely be reinserted into the starting rotation. Provided he is allowed his full arsenal of offerings and hasn't been tinkered with to the point of no return, Butler has a chance to immediately assume the role of Colorado's best pitcher.
It will also be interesting to see the continued big league development of Tyler Matzek, who has met or exceeded expectations to this point in his brief career. And, will Brett Anderson show why the Rockies were so high on him entering the season? It's very likely that he won't be as good as he was in Oakland when he was healthy, but if Anderson, who has made only four starts in 2014, can get acclimated to his new ballpark and squad, finishing with a sub-4.00 ERA isn't out of the question. And if he does that, it might make sense for the Rockies to exercise his $12 million option for next season.
Seeing Tulowitzki and Gonzalez on the same field at the same time is always a pleasure, and if that happens for the remainder of the season, it's almost a guarantee that the club won't finish any worse than they are right now. It would also ensure that Tulo stays in the NL MVP discussion, one he can force his way to the top of if he stays hot. Beyond that, the return of Gonzalez will allow the Rockies, if they so choose, to utilize a platoon of Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson. The combined production of those two, if they're able to keep hitting opposite-handed pitchers as well as they have, would be equal to most of the top outfielders in all of baseball. That makes for an exciting offense when taking into account the superstar duo, Blackmon, Rosario and Morneau (if none of the aforementioned players are traded), as well as the return of Arenado.
And then, there's Michael Cuddyer, whose future with the Rockies might be dependent on the results of an MRI he's scheduled to undergo on Monday. Cuddyer, who is on the DL with a shoulder fracture, could either begin rehabbing the injury or spend more time in the disabled list. He will be a free agent after the season, and health will likely play a key part in whether the Rockies decide to re-sign him, and at what price. If Cuddyer is back and playing at a high level sometime in, say, early- to mid-August, he could still be a trade candidate. Though Rockies ownership has said they're not interested in parting with the veteran outfielder, if they suddenly had a change of heart, it's not incomprehensible that Cuddyer and the roughly $4 million owed to him through the rest of the season could clear waivers, making a post-deadline deal possible.
Finally, perhaps the biggest question and/or thing to look forward to in the second half is what happens with the Rockies' front office. Though owner Dick Monfort has publicly stated that Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett are safe in their positions, his quotes to the media have been of a slightly different tone than in the past, suggesting the losing and accompanying increased scrutiny from the public are beginning to wear on him. The chances of something actually happening are slim, but with all of the shenanigans we've witnessed this season, who really knows what's next?
Now that I've completely rendered this article meaningless with that last sentence, tell me: what's the realistic best-case scenario for this team in the second half? Let's hear it in the comments section.