Published: June 22, 2013
DENVER - The good people in the stands at Security Service Field knew what the Sky Sox had in Corey Dickerson.
Did the Rockies?
Dickerson's numbers in the Pacific Coast League are what you find in a video game. It shouldn't have taken an injury to Dexter Fowler to earn him a locker in the big leagues.
At last, Dickerson joined the Rockies for this weekend's series at the Nationals. His MLB debut looked a whole lot like his spring training.
In his first two at-bats, Dickerson whacked two doubles. In February and March at Salt River Fields, Dickerson earned spring MVP honors.
"What Corey Dickerson will bring to the Rockies is his aggressive play," Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill said Friday. "He's aggressive by nature."
Know what else Dickerson brings to the Rockies?
A real chance to win the NL West.
Not because he's some sort of transcendent bat, a Yasiel Puig in purple pinstripes. It's because the addition of Dickerson to a deep outfield allows the Rockies to explore a trade that could turn Rocktober into a reality, not a fun memory.
Here was my plan Friday: Cruise down to Security Service Field to chat with Dickerson. Determine if his robust numbers were altitude-inflated or the real deal. Confirm they are the real deal. Suggest the Rockies call up Dickerson and trade Fowler for an established arm to cement the rotation.
Plan, nixed. Dickerson was already in Washington, having been called up to play with the big boys.
Looks like we were on to something.
Are the Rockies up to something?
With Fowler back in the lineup, the Rockies are operating with five outfielders. That's a blessing and a luxury, not a necessity.
Carlos Gonzalez is full-go CarGo, the reigning NL player of the week and the league leader with 21 home runs. Michael Cuddyer finished Saturday's 7-1 win with a .349 average during a 20-game hitting streak.
Dickerson is a product of relentless hard work and a great attitude, not altitude. In his final 13 games in Colorado Springs, he had 12 multiple-hit games. He hit .563 in that stretch, and his .368 average was tops in the PCL.
His defense? Good enough to not hurt you.
"The biggest leap for Dickerson is the fourth deck. That means learning to catch the ball with fans in the background," said Hill, a big-league outfielder for 13 seasons. "He has to learn that seeing the ball for a short time is the same as seeing it the whole time.
"I told him to trust his eyes, because if he can see it, he can catch it."
The Rockies must trust their scouting department. With Nolan Arenado, D.J. LeMahieu, Josh Rutledge and Dickerson, the youngest additions promise bigger things ahead at Coors Field.
Roll with the youth movement, and roll the dice. With the Giants winning two World Series in the past four years and the Dodgers' bottomless pockets, the NL West isn't this wide open very often.
Dip into the deepest part of the roster, the outfield, and trade for the missing piece to the Rockies' first division title: An established arm to boost the starting rotation or bullpen.
On the heels of a five-game losing streak, optimists say there's always next year.
Why not this year?
Nuggets search party
As coach of the Bulls, Vinny Del Negro was friendly with media and well-liked by players.
Too often, though, he didn't command the respect of a young roster and have a clearly defined style of play. There were questions of whether he was tough enough on players who stepped out of line.
I can't speak to Del Negro's time as coach of the Clippers.
Del Negro is scheduled to interview with the Nuggets, according to Yahoo! Sports. It's hard to imagine Josh Kroenke hiring Del Negro to coach a young roster that needs a respected leader, not a best friend.
This is also a franchise sensitive to public perception, and bringing in Del Negro wouldn't send fans rushing to the ticket line.
Let's be honest. Each of the candidates to chalk up interviews with the Nuggets has a question next to his name.
Lionel Hollins: His deliberate, defensive-minded approach doesn't seem to fit the fun-and-gun Nuggets.
"In terms of style of play, we're a fast-paced team," general manager Tim Connelly said. "This is Denver. We're going to play in the 100s."
Brian Shaw: Nearly a dozen head coaching interviews later, he's still without a gig. Something is scaring away NBA owners.
Del Negro: Fired by the Bulls and the Clippers, he's earned a reputation as a pushover. Right or wrong, NBA reputations are tough to disprove.
Taking into account their coaching style and how it relates to this Nuggets roster, one man's order of preference: Shaw, Del Negro, Hollins.
Just don't wait too long. Three other teams are on the market for a coach, too.