The Colorado Rockies can’t afford to be sellers or sitters. They must not dilly-dally and dawdle.
Hakuna Matata means “No worries’’ in Swahili. Manny Machado would mean “No worries’’ in Los Angeles. The Dodgers are leading in the chase for the superstar shortstop.
The ante is about to go up in the National League West. The Dodgers, the Diamondbacks and the Giants will be crafting dramatic deals before the July 31 trade deadline.
The Rockies’ controlling owner told me in spring training that if they were in contention in mid-July, the club seriously would consider acquiring veteran assistance.
Hey, Dick, it’s July 18, and the Rox are a mere two games out of first place in the division and fourth among eight teams pursuing the league’s two wild-card spots.
The Rockies never have won a division title in their 26 seasons, and they have never gone to the postseason in back-to-back years. And to answer the google question “When was the last time the Rockies won a World Series,’’ never.
The Rockies have been inactive recently in trade discussions throughout the league.
Last season Jeff Bridich, with the blessing and the money of Dick Monfort, was able to add catcher Jonathan Lucroy and relief pitcher Pat Neshek, and the Rockies reached the wild-card game. Such boldness and brashness is required again.
Nobody in Colorado envisages the Rockies trying to procure Machado. They already possess shortstop Trevor Story. Given the $100 million investment in relief pitchers, which hasn’t worked out as Bridich imagined, and the $70 million contract for Ian “Diamond’’ Desmond, the Rockies are burdened enough that they won’t take on another big ticket.
They do have a few viable options that won’t force Monfort to put a second mortgage on the entertainment center he’s building.
Sure, the fanatical followers of the Rox should be the beneficiaries of another playoff position because the team’s home attendance ranks seventh (36,806) and proves Dickie wrong about once calling Denver “maybe undeserving of a major league baseball franchise.’’ The mindless media warrant an extra meal, or 14. And the Brothers Monfort merit more big paydays and return on speculation.
However, the players are most deserving. They have continued to battle back this season after the offensive well went dry, then the bullpen became as toxic as old Rocky Flats, and team flopped so poorly at home.
The team has not been the most proficient in the sport for the past month or so. But it certainly has been among them. The Rockies were 19-11 in the 30 games before the All-Star break, 13-7 over the last 20 and 8-2 in the final 10.
After dropping to fourth in the West, eight games back, they have climbed past the Giants and within a touch of the D-Backs and the Dodgers. They are six games over .500, a pace that would produce an 86-76 record. The club ended at 87-75 in ’17 and squeezed into a bonus game in Phoenix.
But the Rox likely will have to win at least 90 for the third time to get a wild card. At 25 percent, they have a better chance of winning the division.
But not if the Rockies stand still.
If the Dodgers indeed win the Machado Sweepstakes, and bring in another reliever, they’ll be on a long postseason run. The Diamondbacks are in the hunt for a shortstop too, and more starting pitching. The Giants will spend for another starter and a left fielder.
The Rockies’ most demanding essentials are a quality veteran starter and a dependable late-inning reliever.
Matt Harvey would be a remarkable grab. He has retooled since his move from the Mets. There are others.
But my recommendations won’t cost the Rockies an arm (Peter Lambert, 10-2 in AA and AAA this season) and a leg (Wes Rogers, the fastest man in the minors).
They should give up two 100-type prospects to the Twins for starting pitcher Lance Lynn (whom they should have signed in the off-season) and 42-year-old closer Fernando Rodney. Lynn pitched in 24 postseason games and won 18 games one year. Rodney had 39 saves with the Snakes in ’17, and 21 this season. Both are available as salary dumps.
The Rockies play winning teams in 23 of their next 26 games.
Get help, Rox! Now.