The Warning Track is a blog that covers all things Major League Baseball on a weekly basis, from discussing why some teams are getting hot, who’s in line for awards at season’s end and who is getting ready to make the leap to contender status, as well as off-the-field issues like first-time Commissioner Rob Manfred, which players could be headed to new homes, and A-Rod’s latest lie.
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A Blockbuster in the Making?
For a couple years the Colorado Rockies have tempted 29 other clubs by dangling their star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki like a carrot for one or two or ten young guys (because let’s face it, Tulo is worth it), only to snatch it back in the hopes that their team might one year get out of the basement of the NL West.
Well, in 2015 Tulowitzki is 30 years old and the Rockies continue to be unforgiving to their fans, already nine and a half games back of the Dodgers in their division and losers of 9 of their last 10. .
So, naturally, Tulowitzki came close to taking matters into his own hands and getting the rumor train a-chugging with reports that he was considering asking the organization he has been with his whole career for a trade, only to forego/delay the move.
It all seems pretty inevitable. Tulowitzki is one of the premier shortshops in the majors, and even with his susceptibility to injury – he failed to play in 100 games in two of the last three seasons – he is still a considerable upgrade at the position for several contenders, including the Mets and Mariners, as someone who averages 29 home runs and 101 RBI over a full season.
But all that production in Colorado has been made moot by Rockie pitching, among the league’s worst in recenty years. It’s no different this year with their 5.30 team ERA, the worst in baseball by over half a run. It would be a win-win situation for Colorado and a potential trade partner if they got Tulo’s worth in young pitching with potential as part of a complete rebuild.
SS Troy Tulowitzki will reportedly ask the Rockies for a trade. He will get paid $129M from 2015-2021
— SportsBlogNewYork (@SportBlogNYC) May 13, 2015
And Colorado wouldn’t be surrendering all of its offensive firepower. Player like Nolan Arenado (.291 avg., six home runs, 17 RBI), Charlie Blackmon (.298 average, five home runs, 14 RBI), and Corey Dickerson (.315 average, five home runs, 15 RBI), all aged 28 or under, have done just as much, if not more, than Tulowitzki (.284 average, 2 home runs, 11 RBI) this season.
As a result, for the price of someone hungry to play in October, the Rockies would ask for pitching, pitching, and more pitching, especially when their top two prospects, Jon Gray (7.75 ERA in 33.2 innings) and Eddie Butler (4.24 ERA in 34.0 innings), aren’t exactly tearing it up in the minors.
If another organization was willing to pay that price, Tulo could play this October – something every baseball fans wants to see – and the Rockies could be two or three years away from (finally) winning games on a consistent basis.
Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?
The Cardinals stay strong despite losing their ace, and the Dodgers are giving them a run for their money as the best team in the National League. The AL Central is becoming a fun race to watch, with the Royals, Tigers and surprising Twins all within three games of each other. And a couple of teams make their Fab Five debut thanks to some offensive firepower.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (24-12, 1st in the NL Central)
Ranking two weeks ago: 1
An NL-best bullpen (1.71 ERA) and rising offensive attack (5.3 runs over the last ten games) have helped the Redbirds overcome some shaky starts by Adam Wainwright’s (temporary?) replacement Tyler Lyons and Carlos Martinez, who after giving up five earned runs through his first five starts to the season, has given up seven in each of his last two start to inflate his ERA.
The Cards are owners of the second best run differential in baseball at +51, and a weekend series with the Detroit Tigers (21-14) will play a big part in legitimizing them as the best all-around team in baseball, or a club whose easy early schedule plays into their MLB-best record.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (23-12, 1st in the NL West)
Ranking two weeks ago: 5
A 15-4 home record and MLB-best +61 run differential has helped to compensate for a 7-8 road record, as well as an offense that has scored the most runs in baseball (178), along with leading the bigs in home runs (53), on –base percentage (.352), slugging percentage (.485), on-plus-slugging percentage (.837) and walks (138).
Upcoming series’ with the Padres, Braves and Cardinals should test a Dodgers club that hasn’t yet reached its full potential with a subpar Kershaw (1-2, 4.26 ERA through seven starts).
Kershaw has had 4 starts since win #99. Of 27 active pitchers w/ 100, only Buehrle (7), Hamels (6), E. Santana (6) had more between 99-100
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 15, 2015
3. Kansas City Royals (23-13, 1st in the AL Central)
Ranking two weeks ago: 2
One of only two teams in baseball (St. Louis) whose longest losing streak was two, the Royals took two of three from Detroit, hot on their heels in the Central, to whom they lost an earlier series. They then went on to split a 4-game series with the Rangers. KC is top five in runs scored as well as team ERA, and they’ve shown that they can win without getting physical with their opponents.
4. Washington Nationals (20-17, 2nd in the NL East)
Ranking two weeks ago: Not ranked
The team most everyone has pegged to win the World Series has gotten hot as of late, winning 5 of their last 7 and going 7-3 in their last 10 overall. And they’re doing it not with their pitching, which has allowed at least 6 runs four times in the last week, but by the leadership of Bryce Harper, who has burst into the MVP discussion, hitting seven homers in 9 games, with five of those being multi-hit performances. He’s raised his average from .256 to .303 over the last two weeks.
5. Chicago Cubs (21-15, 2nd in the NL Central)
Ranking two weeks ago: Not ranked
Welcome to relative consistency, Cubbies.
After losing two of three to the white flag-waving Brewers last weekend, Chicago came back home and cooled off a hot New York Mets team by sweeping all four games, all but one of them being one-run affairs. That’s important if Chicago wants to make any noise in September in October; games like Wednesday’s comeback from being down 5-1 early to win 6-5 will give some experience to Chicago’s youngsters who have yet to experience October.
And speaking of youngsters, Kris Bryant has officially arrived. After a couple weeks of homer-less baseball, he’s hit four in seven games, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Since making his debut on April 17th, Kris Bryant had 24 RBI entering today. The only player w/ more RBI in that span is Bryce Harper (28)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 15, 2015
Ace Jon Lester has also settled in, giving up only four runs over his last three starts (15 in his first four) to drop his ERA to just over 4.
1. Milwaukee Brewers (13-23, last in the NL Central)
Telling statistics: 27th team ERA in MLB (4.49), NL-worst .228 team batting average, NL-worst 262 hits (7.5/game), 1 dismissed manager
2. Colorado Rockies (12-20, last in NL West)
Telling statistics: 27th in MLB in runs scored (121, 3.9/game), MLB-worst 61 walks (1.9/game), MLB-worst 5.29 ERA, MLB-worst .287 batting average against, NL-worst 26 runs scored in 7-8-9th innings
3. Oakland Athletics (13-24, last in the AL West)
Telling stats: MLB-worst 36 errors (1/game), AL-worst 4.98 bullpen ERA, 27th in MLB in batting average against left-handers (.206)
4. Cleveland Indians (13-21, last in AL Central)
Telling stats: 13th in AL in team ERA (4.49), 13th in AL in batting average against (.267), 13th in AL in runs scored in 7-8-9th innings (38)
5. Philadelphia Phillies (14-23, last in NL East)
Telling stats: MLB-worst 103 runs scored, MLB-worst 19 home runs, 26th in MLB in batting average (.232), 14th in NL in starter ERA (4.85), NL-worst 11.89 ERA with runners in scoring position and two outs,
David Lynch likes to talk about and write about movies, sports, and important happenings around the world. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.