How the Colorado Rockies can commit to a mini tank

Sep 4, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Colorado Rockies right fielder Randal Grichuk (15) is tagged out at third base by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Spencer Steer (12) during the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

You may be shocked to learn that the Colorado Rockies will not be making the 2022 MLB postseason.

No, wait, not shocked. The exact opposite of shocked. 

The local ballclub has been well out of contention for anything good in the standings for quite some time… well one version of the standings at least.

In the Upside Down, or rather in this case in the reverse standings, where suddenly the floor is the ceiling and losing is good, Colorado remains quite competitive.

Make no mistake, they are still not the class of the league.

How could anyone compete with the truly remarkable Washington Nationals who are 40 games under .500 at 47-87? Plus, they just traded their best player. That’s real commitment to being terrible only rivaled perhaps by the Pittsburgh Pirates who, to be fair, have had a lot more practice.

The perpetually rebuilding Pirates come in second place in the reverse standings, two and a half games behind the Nats with a 49-84 record. Impressive losing, indeed. Just as impressive, it turns out, as the Oakland A’s who were on the cusp of meaningful October baseball just a year ago.

But they decided to spend less on their roster than the average trip to Aspen so find themselves in a virtual tie with the Bucs at 50-85. Detroit, tabbed by many to be a riser in the AL this year, sit just two games behind those two clubs at 51-83, putting them four games behind the Nationals meaning that some hefty losing on their part could see them land another number one overall pick.

That’s a quartet it’s going to be tough to catch. Those four clubs are the class of losing. The sour cream of the crop.

The Rockies just wrapped up a series with the Cincinnati Reds who come in fifth, seven games back of the lead… er rear… with a record of 53-79. Just a half-game behind them is Kansas City and a game behind them comes Miami. Right on their heels are the Chicago Cubs who are a half-game behind the fish and have a half-game edge on the Rockies in ninth.

So, what can the local club do to improve their place in the only standings where they have a chance?

Well, nine and a half games is a lot to make up for in the final month and so the top overall pick is almost certainly out of the question but a far more reasonable goal would be to catch the Reds for fifth.

It should be noted that oftentimes in the MLB draft, depending on the year, there isn’t a huge difference between the guy slotted to go fifth and the guy slotted to go 10th. For example, in this most recent draft, with the 10th overall pick, Colorado selected Gabriel Hughes who was expected to go in the early to mid-20s, and yet the overwhelming consensus is that the pick still made sense and the draft was an incredible success for the team.

Still, if the player you think has the chance to make the biggest impact on your team’s future is slated to go in the top five, it’s good to have a top-five pick.

Luckily(?) Colorado has a pretty brutal schedule down the final stretch with sets against the Brewers, Giants, Padres, and six straight against the Dodgers to close it out.

This should give them ample opportunity to lose some games and potentially improve their draft position.

They are already giving a lot of playing time to rookies like Elehuris Montero, Sean Bouchard, Michael Toglia, and for a minute there Wynton Bernard. Any further application of this principle and shutting down of quality veterans is to be encouraged.

Most of us can agree that the cynical modern era of baseball where teams spend years on end losing on purpose can be a drag. It’s fundamentally not what sports are supposed to be about.

But when you’ve arrived at the final act of a season gone wrong, when no amount of willpower or good fortune can turn the tide in your favor, all that’s left to do is to lean into the pragmatic, do what you can to improve your situation, and try to do better the next time.

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