Carlos Gonzalez: The Rockies Engine to Make Their Car Go

Deborah HortonContributor IMarch 2, 2011

Carlos Gonzalez
Carlos GonzalezJonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Rockies have an engine to power them through the 2011 MLB season and that engine is Carlos Gonzalez.  

The Rockies are banking on CarGo and the 80 million dollars they are paying him to take the Rockies back to the postseason. The Rockies are depending on the CarGo engine to the tune of seven years and the aforementioned 80 million dollars.

He had a breakout year in 2010, with a .336 batting average, 197 hits and 351 total bases, all National League-leading figures, plus 34 home runs and 117 RBIs. He won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in 2010. He was one of the leading contenders for MVP in 2010.

Last season, Gonzalez played all three outfield positions. He would rotate for home and away games. This year, however, Jim Tracy has said that he will be the Rockies left fielder. Tracy said that periodically they might use him at center, but that will not be a regular occurrence.

Gonzalez started last year as the Rockies leadoff batter, but as the season went on he moved into the three spot long held by Rockies first baseman Todd Helton.

Near the end of last season, CarGo suffered from thumb and wrist tendinitis, which affected his swing the most. He decided not to play winter ball in Venezuela for the first time in his career and took the recommended month off. Doing so has allowed him to be able to swing without pain and to come into spring training ready to play.

The Rockies also signed shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a long-term deal over the offseason as well, but CarGo is the Rockies engine. With 197 hits last season, he is the batter who makes things happen at the plate for the team.  

Add to that his 117 RBIs and 34 home runs and you have the engine that makes the Rockies Car Go.