The Colorado Rockies have gone from World Series contenders to league laughingstock this season, thanks to trading some all-star players, inconsistency on the mound, and bats going cold, leading to one of the worst records in MLB history.
The story of how this came to be starts after the 2018 season, when the Rockies won a Wild Card spot in the playoffs but were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers. Soon afterwards, Colorado traded DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino to the American League Wild Card winners, the New York Yankees. The Yankees also acquired former Rocky Troy Tulowitzki from Toronto, almost as if to duplicate what was working well for Colorado. Carlos Gonzalez also parted ways with the Rockies in March of this year and is now playing for the Chicago Cubs. After that, things got ugly.
Without Ottavino, the Rockies entered the 2019 season with a pitching core that, at times, looked as if they wanted the opposing team to win. They were already having trouble with pitching in prior seasons, such as the 2017 Wild Card game against the Diamondbacks, so breaking down the pitching staff even further seemed like a bad idea then and has continued to prove to be. At this point, Colorado’s hopes for the postseason hinge on the talent of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, while the rest of the NL West would need to sink low enough so the Rockies could creep up on the Dodgers.
Instead, Manny Machado left the Dodgers for the Padres, and San Diego performed better than in prior seasons; the Diamondbacks performed as their usual selves; and the Dodgers are still the high-caliber team they were last season. To make matters worse, the Giants had a fluke season, where they were not at the bottom of the division and are currently sitting comfortably in third place. As for Blackmon and Arenado, they performed fair. Blackmon currently has a batting average of .317 and Arenado of .315. Despite these helpful statistics, the Rockies as a whole just could not function in July, and Colorado had their worst month in franchise history.
At the moment, the Rockies are in fifth place in the NL West and have the third worst record in the national league. Although it is pointless to wonder what could be, it is hard to imagine them suffering at the plate this much if they had kept LeMahieu and Ottavino; after all, the Yankees have returned to form and are laying waste to teams across America. This is due in part to the former Rockies, but also an overall terrific roster. Gonzalez and the Cubs didn’t have a great season, but at least they didn’t faceplant like Colorado.
What went wrong with the Rockies can be summarized like this: They forgot what worked for them in the 2018 season and failed to make improvements where there needed to do so. As punishment, they have been condemned to the basement to rebuild with no end in sight.