Rockies Journal: Making the playoffs in 2025? Here’s what it would take

The Rockies don’t like the term “rebuilding.”

“I hate that word,” owner Dick Monfort told me in January. “I guess the connotation on rebuilding is you just get rid of everybody. You try to draft low, which we’re not (going to do). We’re not trying to get the first pick. We’re not going to tank. We never have, never will.”

OK, so if the Rockies aren’t rebuilding or tanking, what are they doing? Perhaps they’re in the midst of an HGTV-style extreme makeover. Whatever you call it, the renovation is going to take some time. Obviously, the postseason is beyond the Rockies’ reach this year. The playoffs in 2024 look like a pipedream, too.

So 2025 looks like their next, best chance of making the postseason. It would take a best-case scenario for it to happen. Meaning:

• Someone, perhaps outfielder Zac Veen, must emerge as a genuine star. Veen, however, is having a tough season at Double-A  Hartford, slashing .230/.331/.345 with just one home run in 31 games. Colorado’s No. 1 prospect has a lot of work to do before he’s ready for the majors, let alone become an impact player.

• Rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar already looks like the real deal in the field, but he’s struggling a bit against major-league pitching, as his 29% strikeout rate illustrates. He continues to fish for breaking balls thrown low and away, but manager Bud Black says Tovar “is holding his own.” Black firmly believes Tovar is going to be a productive hitter for a long time. There have been glimpses. Tovar’s 20 RBIs are tied for third-most on the team and are three more than Kris Bryant.

• Speaking of Bryant, will he ever become the force the Rockies expected when they signed him last spring for seven years and $182 million? By 2025 we’ll know for sure.

• I’m curious about who will be the second baseman in 2025. It might be Brendan Rodgers, but he’s scheduled to become a free agent in 2026 and the Rockies have already explored trading Rodgers for pitching, although those deals fell apart. The best bet at second could be No. 2 prospect Adael Amador, currently playing shortstop at high-A Spokane, where he’s hitting .303 with a .877 OPS and eight home runs.

• Catcher Elias Diaz is having an All-Star-worthy season, but he’s 32 and is scheduled to become a free agent after next season. The hope is that Drew Romo, currently catching at Double-A Hartford, can be an answer behind the plate. Currently, however, Romo is slashing .209/.258/.322 in the tough Eastern League.

• First base remains a perplexing question mark. Michael Togila, who was sent down to Triple-A on Friday, has a golden glove but he’s being picked apart by major-league pitchers. In 41 games (145 plate appearances), he’s hitting .209 with just two homers and is striking out 36.6% of the time. If Togila isn’t the answer, perhaps Colorado turns to Nolan Jones or Hunter Goodman, who’s already hit 15 homers and drove in 47 runs for the Yardgoats this season.

• In addition to Veen, the Rockies have some intriguing outfield candidates. Speedy Brenton Doyle (four home runs in 75 big-league at-bats) is already making an impact. Benny Montgomery, currently at high-A Spokane, has yet to hit for power but the Rockies remain hopeful he will bust out.

• Pitching, as always, remains Colorado’s dilemma. Lefty Kyle Freeland projects as the veteran anchor of the rotation in 2025, or at least the club hopes so. After that, there are more questions than answers. Major-leaguers Connor Seabold, Ryan Feltner and Noah Davis? Prospects Ryan Rolison, Gabriel Hughes, Jaden Hill and Joe Rock?

In 2017-18, the Rockies made the playoffs with a solid lineup, good pitching at the top of the rotation, and an effective closer. Can the Rockies complete that kind of makeover by 2025?

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