Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with a pair of homers and drove in six runs in his team's 17-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. Gonzalez's multi-homer game was his second in three days, and a slow start to the season is now a thing of the past; the 29-year-old star owns a steadily improving .270/.326/.497 line after his latest offensive explosion.
Gonzalez has come alive at the right time. As the Rockies try to find their footing in the second half and decide where they're at as a ball club heading into the trade deadline, their prized right fielder has managed .377/.411/.812 line since the beginning of the month.
As much as CarGo is starting to look like himself at the plate, he's also returning to form in the field. While dealing with finger and knee issues in 2014, Gonzalez stumbled to five runs below average in the outfield. This year, he's looked much more like himself using the eye test, and the metrics support that line of thinking; CarGo is two runs above average on defense, more along the lines of his pre-2014 career performance.
Gonzalez's return to form is good news for the Rockies regardless of what they decide to do with him. If they keep him, he represents just another weapon on an offensive unit that is capable of carrying the team through questionable pitching performances.
More importantly, if the 42-54 Rockies make CarGo available, the return has a chance to be much more significant than it would have been two months -- or even a month -- ago. That's not necessarily because of the improved numbers at the plate and in the field; it has more to do with CarGo showing he's healthy and able to be a strong asset for a contending team going forward.
Gonzalez is saying all the right things. He wants to remain in Colorado, but he knows how the business works. If only the team could just live up to the quote he gave to MLB.com following his dominant showing on Sunday:
"It's just part of the game when you're in last place. I think it's our fault that we're in this situation because if we were playing good baseball, we'd be on the opposite side just looking to see who was going to join the team. Right now, all I can say is that we've got to continue to play good baseball and stay together, stay close. Show the front office, show the fans that we can win ballgames together, and that's how we're going to make changes."
Unfortunately, the Rockies don't quite have the firepower in as many areas as they should to be able to make CarGo's wish come true. The fans will continue to show their support; from there, it's up to the front office to make good, realistic and well-informed decisions.
If that means seeing what they can get in return for the red-hot CarGo -- and, if the return is ample, pulling the trigger -- then so be it.