Rox in running, keep core players at Deadline

Colorado hosts Wild Card leaders in crucial week

Rox in running, keep core players at Deadline

DENVER -- After a 12-5 run since the All-Star break that has fueled surprise playoff aspirations, the Rockies decided not to make any deals before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

How the strategy works could be seen over the next six days at Coors Field.

The surge has the Rockies at 52-53 and 4 1/2 games out of the second National League Wild Card spot, held by the Marlins. The Dodgers hold the first Wild Card, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Marlins.

Both the Dodgers and Marlins come to Coors this week, as the Rockies and Dodgers open a three-game set Tuesday before the Marlins come in for a weekend series starting Friday.

At the All-Star break, while much of the baseball world expected the Rockies to jettison key players such as outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon, general manager Jeff Bridich said, "I believe a run is possible." But by Sunday, the Rockies' improved play sparked speculation that they had become "buyers" in search of pitching, possibly to improve the bullpen.

The player who garnered the most speculation turned out to be lefty reliever Boone Logan, whose solid performance after bouncing back from three years of elbow issues attracted many teams higher in the standings. However, the Rockies don't have a ready replacement and didn't receive an offer that could entice them to trade Logan.

Logan escapes a jam in the 8th

The reasons the Rockies weren't "sellers" and didn't shake up the roster appear connected.

Colorado has a highly regarded farm system, and some teams making a push will trade prospects for established players.

But this year's club has received key contributions from players in its system, such as right-hander Jon Gray, left-hander Tyler Anderson, shortstop Trevor Story and outfielder David Dahl (all first-round Draft choices) and closer Carlos Estevez from the Latin American program. Add in catcher Tony Wolters, claimed from the Indians, and switch-hitting reserve infielder Cristhian Adames from Latin America, and rookies make up 28 percent of the roster.

Also depended upon are righty starter Chad Bettis, who entered this season with roughly 1 1/2 years of Major League service time, and righty reliever Scott Oberg, forced into an important bullpen role because of injuries to veterans Jason Motte and Chad Qualls.

Still in the picture are anticipated prospects, including a couple of starters -- righty Jeff Hoffman and lefty Kyle Freeland -- righty reliever Matt Carasiti and lefty reliever Sam Moll, catcher Tom Murphy and outfielder Jordan Patterson at Triple-A Albuquerque. Also, outfielder Raimel Tapia, the top hitter in the Double-A Eastern League at Hartford, is on the Major League roster and a callup possibility.

But the vastly improved record left the Rockies reluctant to move Gonzalez and Blackmon, the most speculated-about position players. There was little speculation about lefty starter Jorge De La Rosa, who's in the final year of his contract.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.