2017 has been a season to forget for former all-star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. The main piece in the now forgotten trade of fan favorite Matt Holliday, CarGo has more than fulfilled his end of the bargain. Though Holliday won a World Series, there is a strong case to be made Colorado Rockies made the right move and came out with the better player in the deal.
Before this season, there was no doubt that CarGo was one of the best outfielders in baseball both behind the plate and in the field. A notorious slow starter to the season, Gonzalez came out of the gate like a sloth climbing a tree. Many, including us at @armchairrockies shrugged it off, thinking of it as normal, thinking that come mid-May he would turn it on.
It turns out; he didn’t. It’s now mid-July and Gonzalez, a career .287 hitter, is batting just .218 with 6 home runs and 25 RBI’s. The fans, media, and coaching staff are growing restless waiting for CarGo to find the magic that made him one of the games brightest stars.
Watching the Rockies has become a roller coaster of emotions with ‘hope’ being the emotion felt when CarGo strolls to the plate. Fans are sitting on the edge of their sits waiting for their all-star outfielder to flash his sweet swing again. There have been flashes, such as this past Tuesday he went 2-4 with three RBI’s. One of the two hits was a double smoked off the right field wall that brought in two important RBI’s.
It’s games like Tuesday that fans and media members alike wait for the next game to see if he can start stringing the hits together. This is where that hope thing comes in, the hope that he will put the hits together, building his confidence. The hope that he turns the corner down the stretch to push this team into the postseason. Which will then turn into the hope that he stays hot in the postseason to push this team to its first World Series championship (gulp).
Before the season we talked about the bargaining chip CarGo could have been if the Rockies weren’t in contention this deep into the season. Now the talk surrounding him sounds like he will be a throw in piece for a trade that makes the club a better contender without him. Either way, the business side of baseball is going to be more prominent than the play on the field.
Pride and respect have kept the Rockies from optioning Gonzalez to the minors to fix his swing and confidence. If the Rockies have CarGo in the postseason plans, they need to send him down to the minors to build confidence. Toiling around the Mendoza line isn’t helping either side in this situation, whereas figuring out his swing in the minors would. Pride and respect can be the downfall as much as the reason for success.
A sub .220 hitting Carlos Gonzalez is not helping this team win now, and the longer it takes him to find his stroke, the harder it is going to be for this team to win in the future. Colorado has the fifth best record in all of baseball, with one of their greatest hitters in a season long slump. Imagine adding a slugging CarGo to this lineup…scary.