It was easy enough this spring to write Carlos Gonzalez off as injury-prone trade bait, but when CarGo plays like CarGo, it’s hard to picture him in any other uniform. Gonzalez posted his second consecutive three-hit night last night with three doubles in his first three trips to the plate. It comes in flashes, but Gonzalez is getting his swing back. And my, if that’s not the prettiest swing in baseball.
To many, this is Gonzalez’s now or never year. After having his last two seasons cut short by injuries, he’s faced with finding his bearings all over again in both his timing at the plate, as well as instincts in the field. It was an ugly start to the season for CarGo offensively, but he insisted it was only a matter of time.
Gonzalez was optimistic after Thursday night’s victory, "I know at some point I’ll get there. I’m still confident. We have a lot of games ahead of us, hopefully we can make a big run." The time seems to be upon us, but with trade speculation swirling around the healthy 29-year-old and the July 31st deadline swiftly approaching, it’s possible the number of games CarGo has left in Colorado are less than he forsees.
For what it’s worth, Carlos Gonzalez is the only proven five-tool capable player the Rockies have on their roster right now. He may not be playing all the way back to his former status, but he manages to do something in every game he plays in to impact the ballgame. That’s who he is -- an impact player -- and that is something the Rockies should be very cautious of giving up right now.
The buzz seems to be headed in the direction of the timeless trade-power-position-player-for-pitching theory that is a proven sure-fire fix to all things Rockies*.
*Pretty much never the case
Yes, the rotation and the bullpen have had their fair share of short comings this season; there are holes left by injury and failed expectation in each. However, even the league's elite pitching staffs would struggle to clean up after the Rox atrocious offense. The Rockies have scored three runs or fewer in 33 games this season -- they’ve taken 30 of those for a loss.
Remove an invigorated Carlos Gonzalez from the lineup and the Rockies could find themselves flirting with 100 loses. Let him find his swing for a full season in Denver and the offseason will be met with opportunities of its own.
In his last 15 games, CarGo is working a .333/.346/.549 line. He isn’t playing for trade value; he keeps the focus on his team, "I understand that I am a big part of this club, and as long as I play good baseball we’re going to have a good opportunity to win games."