Carlos Gonzalez won the game for the Colorado Rockies last night.
There can and should be much speculation about his future in Colorado, but his performance over the last few months is showing that there should be far less speculation about whether or not he is still a valuable baseball player.
It's been a tough couple of years for CarGo who has been in and out (and back in and back out) of the injury ward, dealt with some family issues, and struggled to find his way back to being productive on the baseball field.
This all inevitably leads to a legitimate question: Is Carlos Gonzalez toast?
We don't have a definitive answer as to what he is yet, but we do know what he is not, and he is not toast.
"[A healthy CarGo] is pivotal," says manager Walt Weiss. "A guy with that type of talent in the middle of your lineup changes everything. When he gets going we tend to score runs because he is going to be in the middle of a lot of rallies and a lot of offense."
In his last 50 games, Carlos Gonzalez has posted a .295/.345/.530 slash-line with 10 home runs, good for a 122 wRC+ -- over the past 50 games, CarGo has been CarGo again.
"I still think there's more to come," continues Weiss. "We've seen that before. I do think that the amount of time he's missed over the last two years has been a factor. He's missed a lot of time but he's playing consistently again. He's in the lineup virtually everyday. I think you are going to continue to see him just get better and better."
Consistency is certainly the key. Can he be consistent enough to play with superstar status again? His manager believes so.
"I do [think he can get back to superstar levels] because he's still in his prime. He's not on the downside of his career and it's not like his skills have diminished. You watch him in pre-game, the skills are still the same, the tools are still the same. It's coming."
Those comments came in a press conference before a game in which CarGo knocked in every run the Rockies scored and made a key outfield assist in a 3-2 win against the Atlanta Braves, including delivering the walk-off base hit.
The throw was a reminder that even when he does slump, Gonzalez has always been a player who can affect the game in myriad ways.
"[His defense] Top level stuff. He can throw with anybody. Great instincts, great jumps, I think he is an elite defender. I think at this point in his career, he's a proto-type in right field."
This all amounts to one of two things: He is either going to be an asset for this team moving forward, or he will be an asset for someone else, as he has dramatically increased his trade value in the last 50 games and any general manager who doesn't see that shouldn't be dealt with.
But CarGo isn't thinking in those terms. In the same way he could not give up on himself after a few years where nothing seemed to go right, he isn't giving up on this team.
"Our goal is to make the postseason and that's not going to change," he says. "We still have plenty of games to do something special, to change things up. I believe in this group. I believe in every single guy in this room."