USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale discusses if the San Francisco Giants are selling at the trade deadline and what that means for Madison Bumgarner.
WASHINGTON — It’s now or never as far as the Colorado Rockies are concerned.
But they aren’t the only National League team feeling that way. At five games under .500, Colorado is one of 11 NL teams for which the next week is crucial in determining their fate. The Marlins – who are 15½ games out of playoff position – are the only NL team that entered Tuesday’s play more than seven games back in the wild-card race.
With a shot at a third consecutive postseason berth slipping through their batting gloves, the basement dwellers of the National League West have some ground to make up if they want a chance at another October appearance.
A four-game series against the wild card-leading Nationals gives the Rockies that chance; although they enter the set just five games out of a playoff berth, they need to vault five teams to get there.
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“There’s some things we obviously have to clean up as a group, and I think we will,” All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado told USA TODAY Sports. “Obviously I still think we have time to make a move, but we’re definitely running out of time.
“We’ve either got to make a move now or I don’t know when.”
Neither outfielder Ian Desmond nor pitcher Bryan Shaw expect the Rockies to roll over with opportunities for improving their record still on the schedule and the trade deadline potentially resulting in beneficial additions.
“We have a group of guys that we’ve proven to not lay down. We’ve got some grit, and I think we’re going to fight our way to the end,” Desmond said, adding that any players acquired through a trade don’t “need to be a $100 million player by any means.
“I think the front office and ownership has proven to be invested in this group of guys and want to see us play well. To not make a move I feel like would be a little bit of an indication of laying down, and I don’t think that’s what this group does.”
Arenado wasn’t as confident.
“I hope they add. I think we would all appreciate it if they added, but at the same time, I don’t know if they will,” he said. “When you’re losing, it’s kind of hard to tell what moves they’ll make. Especially when you’re losing, because it’s almost like, ‘What can we possibly go get when you’re losing?’ You can’t just get rentals for a last place team.”
The Rockies’ front office has been proactive the past two Julys, acquiring reliever Seunghwan Oh and outfielder Matt Holliday in 2018 and reliever Pat Neshek and catcher Jonathan Lucroy in 2017; the Rockies claimed the No. 2 NL wild card both seasons, losing to Arizona in 2017 and beating the Cubs at Wrigley Field last year.
Calling first baseman Yonder Alonso up from the minors Tuesday indicated there is some willingness for roster flexibility, but with a 47-52 record, the slim pickings may not have as big of an impact as Colorado needs.