|Todd Helton added to his career numbers on Sunday.|
On Sunday, the issue of the back end of the rotation rared it's ugly head, as Juan Nicasio couldn't make it out of the 3rd inning, while giving up seven runs on seven hits. It was a day that showed one of the spots that desperately needs attention in the off-season.
Nicasio has had flashes of the talent that got him to the big leagues. When he throws strikes, he gets outs, but more importantly, he must have a secondary pitch or he is toast from the get-go. The Rockies failed to develop Nicasio in the minors, then rushed him from Double-A to the Majors when Jorge De La Rosa when down in 2011.
The Rockies have two huge needs; bats that can get timely hits, and the back-end of the rotation. Of course, about 25 of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball are looking for extra arms from three through five in their rotation, but the Rockies have shown that they don't even have serviceable starters to fill those spots.
With two very real candidates in the minors, it will be very tempting to allow Eddie Butler and Jonathan Gray to earn their spot onto the big league roster for Opening Day. However, the sensible thing to do is to find stop-gaps that aren't scrap-heap fill-ins. The Rockies need to address their pitching issues through trade, and allow the prospects that are on their way up to earn their spot.
With the production that Charlie Blackmon has shown in his small sample size, the Rockies may have seen enough to feel like, between he and Corey Dickerson, that the team could part ways with Dexter Fowler and find a team who is willing to give up a serviceable number three starter to have Fowler, and potentially a prospect on either side to make sure it is fair.
Whatever it takes, if the Rockies want to be a true contender, they have to have someone beyond Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood. If that issue isn't addressed, the Rockies will simply continue chasing their tails.
Helton's Big Day
With a crowd of over 40,000 seeing Todd Helton at Coors Field for one of the last times, Helton rewarded the paying masses. His 3-for-5 day at the plate, including two doubles and four RBIs. Helton also scored two runs, which put him over the 1,400 RBI mark for his career, as well as 1,400 runs scored mark.
If Helton can put up four more extra base hits in the final five games of his career, he will have 1,000 career extra base hits. That number alone, even with the fact that he played half of his career games at Coors Field simply should not be ignored.
Hall of Fame or not, how many people who played Major League Baseball never came anywhere close to 1,000 total hits, let alone 1,000 extra base hits. Helton is walking away from a career that he can hang his hat on. Was his career a hall of fame career? That question gets answered by some voters who haven't watched more than 10 baseball games per season in nearly a decade.
The Rockies and their fans have two more home games to watch Helton play. His career may or may not result in his induction into the Hall of Fame. However, that really shouldn't be the focus of this week. The focus should be on appreciating the baseball that was played by the first legend in purple pinstripes. Rockies fans have an advantage over fans of other teams. Most other franchises have stars, or players who will be considered for the Hall of Fame. However, there were others before them. Helton represents the first star to rise from the draft, through the farm system, into the record books for the Rockies. He is the guy who fans today will be telling their children and grandchildren about for decades to come.
As Rockies fans have done so well in the final homestand, they need to continue with the standing ovations. They should let Helton know how much he has meant to this franchise, but also to this state.
Before the Rockies throw out the first pitch on Wednesday, they will recognize Helton before the game. It is important for fans to get off work early, make their way into the stadium, and fill the seats at least 20 minutes before the first pitch if they want to take part in the festivities of honoring Helton.
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