Carlos Gonzalez also enjoyed his weekend visit to Pittsburgh

Our recaps are coming later in the week, but let it be known that Dave Brown and I very much enjoyed our road trip out east.

Also relishing a few recent days spent in the confines of Pittsburgh's PNC Park?

Why, none other than Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez(notes), who went 9-for-18 with two homers and five RBIs during four games against Pirates pitching.

As Roto Arcade notes, CarGo has now entered Triple Crown contention with a league-leading .327 average and homer and RBI totals (25/77) that are just off their respective paces.

And though Joey Votto(notes) and Albert Pujols(notes) have deservedly earned the top two spots in the NL MVP race, Gonzalez has become a solid third candidate as arguably the best outfielder in the league.

Not bad for someone who was left off the All-Star team (he lost to Votto in the Final Man vote).

As we watched Gonzalez go 2-for-5 during Saturday's game, I made the remark to some of my fellow HEIST attendees that Oakland general manager Billy Beane has somehow escaped widespread criticism for trading Gonzalez (and Huston Street(notes)) two offseasons ago for 93 games of Matt Holliday's(notes) expiring contract.

But I suspect that's going to change soon, especially if Michael Taylor(notes) — the prospect that Beane ultimately ended up with — doesn't live up to his projected promise.

Yeah, you'd still like to see Gonzalez improve that Adam Jones(notes)-like K/BB rate (99:19) and prove that he can hit consistently away from Coors Field. (Athletics Nation just posted a brilliant dissertation on his home/away splits, which are quite Holliday-like.)

But those deficiencies can be addressed and he's already blossoming into a star despite them. If the 24-year-old Venezuelan keeps this up, Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd will be able to take credit for one of the best situational trades in recent memory.

Billy Beane, not so much.

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