In a Rockies season that has brought many ups and downs, there have been a few bright spots from which to glean for next season. A question the Rockies have coming into next season is: Should the team take a chance with Dickerson as their everyday player versus Cuddyer?
Manager Walt Weiss stated last year that Dickerson reminds him of a younger version of Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer has had an injury-plagued 2014 season.
Dickerson’s goal is to be a batting champion someday and the coaching staff agrees he is capable of reaching this lofty ambition. If so, then Dickerson should be in the starting lineup day one next season. Despite the leadership Cuddyer brings to the club, the Rockies have to build towards the future. Cuddyer deserves to be part of a club that contends every year for the World Series and he will never get that with how this team is currently constructed. Plus, he will be far less affordable than Dickerson when his contract expires at the end of this season.
The only concern I have for giving Dickerson the starting nod next season is his fielding ability in the outfield. If he can prove to be a strong 4-tool player, then he offers a good solution to save the Rockies money to pay for improved pitching. Dickerson’s bat is consistently proving to be difficult for opposing pitchers. Weiss can’t afford to sit a guy every fourth day with a player of the caliber as Dickerson. The only way the Rockies can retain both Dickerson and Cuddyer next season is for Charlie Blackmon to be offered in a trade, which in turn requires repositioning Carlos Gonzalez to center field. The main problem with this scenario is Gonzalez’s questionable leg strength in being able to cover center field on an everyday basis.
As for Cuddyer, the possibility of him staying with the Rockies hinges on Troy Tulowitzki voicing his opinion to have Cuddyer stay. If Tulowitzki states he wants Cuddyer to stay then the question must be raised how Dickerson might be used in a trade to bring in better pithing talent. I find it unlikely, however, that the franchise will part with Dickerson at this point due to his upside potential and low-cost salary.
Despite the ups and downs the Rockies have encountered this season, the fact Dickerson has been performing at a high-level is a feather in the team’s cap of the future. It was great to have Cuddyer perform in a Rockies uniform, but having Dickerson, Blackmon, Gonzalez and utility outfielders Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes unfortunately makes Cuddyer’s future baseball career in Colorado unlikely.