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Rockies won't finish last in NL West in 2014

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Yesterday's win and Arizona's loss mean that the Rockies are almost assuredly going to finish out of the cellar in the NL West. For a team that was 54-83 entering September, that's a minor miracle.

Denis Poroy

Last night's road win, a 3-2 affair over the Padres in which Brandon Barnes unleashed his inner super villain, improved Colorado's road record since the All-Star break to 5-26 (.161 winning percentage). It was a good day for the Rockies, though their anemic road offense again failed to produce much output.

The win, coupled with Arizona's loss yesterday, virtually ensured that the Rockies will be picking no higher than third in next year's draft - most likely fourth behind the Diamondbacks, Astros (compensation for not signing the number one pick this year), and Rangers. In fact, if the Rockies keep winning, they could fall out of the top five altogether if the Astros, Red Sox, Twins, and even Cubs all collapse. The incremental value of a higher first round draft pick is relatively small, but the other advantages it affords, such as a higher bonus pool for Latin American free agents next year, constitutes a decent incentive to lose. Just saying.

Despite a 54-83 record entering September, it looks like the Rockies will not only finish ahead of the Diamondbacks in the NL West, they will also finish with more wins than the 2012 team and maybe a few others. This is thanks to a 12-9 (to date) September, which matches April for the best month of the year for Colorado. Since the Rockies have four more on the road to end the month, I'm guessing they won't finish September ahead of April.

Fourth place in the NL West is a relatively unimportant distinction, of course. This team has had a terrible year and a fourth place finish in the NL West won't be much of a salve for fans. There's a lot separating the Rockies from playoff contention this year and a fourth place finish after last year's cellar dwelling represents a step back, not a step forward. As Ricky Bobby would say, "If you ain't first, you're last". In terms of Worlds Series (and playoff) odds, the Rockies are tied for last. Looking toward 2015, they're probably not a lot higher in those standings.

Quick NL batting race update: Justin Morneau leads Josh Harrison by .002 (.319 to .317) with four games left for Morneau and five for Harrison. If Harrison doesn't win the title, he'll have a wild card play-in game to console himself with, as the Pirates clinched a playoff berth yesterday.

Los Links!

Rockies Mailbag: Starting outfield to include Corey Dickerson in 2015? - The Denver Post

Patrick Saunders takes eight questions from his readers about the Rockies, including the titular quesion. Corey Dickerson has shown this year that he has the ability to sustain success at the major league level - perhaps opening the door for a Carlos Gonzalez trade. Saunders also lists his favorite MLB ballparks, talks about attendance, and his relationship with ownership and the front office.

Boise Hawks welcome the Colorado Rockies

Colorado's newest affiliate, the short season A Boise Hawks of the Northwest League, is rolling out the red carpet for their new parent club. The Rockies say they will be bringing more of their top prospects to the Hawks next year, which would be a departure from the way Colorado seemed to treat Boise's predecessor, the Tri-City Dust Devils, in recent years.

Chacin takes step forward in comeback | rockies.com

Jhoulys Chacin, who has been out since June with a shoulder injury, threw off the mound yesterday. He'll have a full bullpen session on Friday as he tries to build strength for 2015. Chacin had a slight labrum tear and rotator cuff damage, that, if surgery is required, could preclude him from ever becoming an effective MLB pitcher again. Here's hoping that this works and that a relatively healthy Chacin is able to take his place in the 2015 rotation, once again making a positive impact on Colorado's rotation.

Rockies open to Betancourt's return in 2015 | rockies.com

Speaking of injured pitchers, Rafael Betancourt (who will turn 40 next year) may be an option to shore up Colorado's bullpen in 2015 after using 2014 to rehab from Tommy John surgery. Betancourt, who is a free agent after this year, would give the Rockies two relievers in that age bracket next year along with closer LaTroy Hawkins. I can definitely see him signing a minor league deal and competing seriously for a bullpen role in spring.