When the Colorado Rockies traded with the Oakland Athletics for second baseman Mark Ellis on June 30, the unofficial countdown to the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline began. While general manager Dan O'Dowd isn't under any illusion that Mark Ellis is going to come in and turn this team around, the Rockies and the rest of the league are finally at the point where they just can't shrug off a bad start.
Most teams are already halfway through their schedules, with the Rockies standing at 39-42. That's third-best in the NL West, but also 6.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants. The Arizona Diamondbacks are second, just two games behind the Giants.
It's no longer the time to take a wait-and-see approach. O'Dowd has taken that first step by acquiring Mark Ellis, who could rebound by playing at Coors Field. But if that's the only move the Rockies make before July 31, the team will find itself looking up at the Giants in the standings and watching them defend their World Series title in October.
As Jon Bois points out over at Baseball Nation, history does not bode well for the Rockies as they are more than a handful of games out of first place on July 1. But the National League wild card? That's still doable.
Full NL West standings: