Last night the Rockies’ postseason hopes ended with a San Francisco win. No first Western Division Championship, or third Wild Card. It was a predictable outcome; in the current century, the team has only done well in odd-numbered years, i.e. 2007 and 2009. So,next year should be another playoff year for Colorado!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
November 11, 2008. Strong rumor has it that the Rockies have traded flawed superstar outfielder Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics for what amounts to the proverbial bag of beans. As you may recall, another genius predecessor of “Dealin'” Dan O’Dowd, a certain Jack, traded a prized cow (no word on the bovine’s range in left field) for a bag of beans that turned out to be magic and grew into a huge beanstalk, enabling Jack to embark on a life of crime, which in some way involved Oakland’s cross-bay rivals, the Giants.
No such luck in this case, as the Rockies got three young players of dubious talent, according to the “Official” Colorado Rockies web site:
“The Athletics have agreed to send the Rockies relief pitcher Huston Street, left-handed pitcher Greg Smith and outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez.“
Current Rockies players couldn’t even wait until Holliday was out the door before trashing him:
Todd “Gramps” Helton: “How we’ll replace Matt, who is a great guy on a team and a good guy in the clubhouse, I have no idea.“
Troy “Turaluralura” Tulowitzky: “We are going to miss him because he is a great person, a great friend and a great player.“
Ryan “Rye Bread” Spilborghs: “Matt, in my opinion, is the best all-around left fielder in baseball — I can’t think of a better hitter and outfielder.“
The Rockies’ Owners, the unemployed former slaughterhouse operators Mel and Fred Monfort claimed they couldn’t afford Holliday because the franchise wasn’t making any money the last few years after paying the Monforts a billion dollars each as co-chairmen/presidents/poohbahs.
The Monforts, under the promise of anonymity, also verified rumors that they would be dumping the salaries of Atkins and Taveras and replacing them with low paid players currently on the Colorado roster or discarded by other teams. They guaranteed when the 2009 season begins, they would put 9 uniformed players on the field for every single game. After all, they said, after the opening day series with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, we will already have made a profit for the year because of the sweetheart stadium deal the citizens of Denver have given us. Suckers! Oh, did I say that out loud?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Rockies managed to get 4 runs on 4 hits and beat the Giants behind Jorge de la Rosa, but both LA and Arizona won, leaving Colorado 6 games back with only 23 left to play. To show you how hopeless it is, the Diamondbacks have 25 games left, while the Rockies’ elimination number is 19. That means if Arizona wins less than half their games, say 12, the Rockies will need to go 17-6 just to tie. Not a very likely scenario, to say the least, especially since it assumes that the Rox will win all 6 of their remaining games with Arizona, since those games count as 2 in the elimination count. If they lose 3 of the 6 remaining games with Arizona, they would have to win all of the other games, or go 20-3 just to tie, assuming Arizona only wins 9 other games. Still, it is not quite as bleak as it was last year, and they won. Anybody want to bet they can do it again? The Baseball Observer does not.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Troy Tulowitzky had a great year in 2007. In fact, he had one of the greatest rookie years by a shortstop in the history of baseball. So, you can’t blame management for lavishing him with one of the largest contracts ever offered to a second year player in the history of any sport, can you? Maybe not, but you should. Because they damaged the team, damaged Major League Baseball as a whole, and may have ruined the promising player’s career.
Other than that, it was a great idea.
Other players have had great, maybe even greater years, and didn’t get contracts even close to Tulowitzky’s. Take Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, for example. He had a pretty good year in 2005, hitting 22 homeruns in just 88 games and winning Rookie of the Year, but the Phillies didn’t offer him a multi-year deal. In 2006, Howard had an even bigger year, hitting 58 homers and winning the MVP. The Phillies still didn’t sign him to a multiyear contract, signing him instead to a one year, $10 million deal.
By signing Tulowitzki before he was eligible for arbitration, the Rockies accomplished a lot of things, all of them bad:
- They set up the probability of a bad year in 2008. Once players sign big contracts, they almost always have a let down of some sort. In Troy’s case, he was probably not in top shape, causing him to start out poorly in the field and at the plate. Additionally, his conditioning may have played a part in the tearing of a tendon that will keep him out of the lineup until after the All-Star break.
- They flew into the face of logic, baseball tradition, and their own history in giving players large contracts based on speculation. Tulo had a huge year in 2007, but there was ample evidence to believe that he could not repeat it in 2008. Ever heard of the “sophomore jinx”, Monforts? Nobody in their right minds would give a rookie with so little experience that kind of money based on a single campaign. The Rockies own Manager, Clint Hurdle, shoud be a great reminder of that fact. He had a great year in his initial season in the Majors and never approached that standard afterward.
- They have incurred the wrath of all of the rest of baseball’s owners, who will now be pressured by agents of all successful rookies to give them Tulo-like contracts.
- They created an environment whereby their other young stars will expect insane contracts like Tulowitzky’s, except the team can’t afford them.
So if you thought the Meatboys were learning from their experience or “No longer dealin'” Dan O’Dowd was now an older and wiser man, you were wrong. The longer these boobs run the team, dumber they get.
The Baseball ObserverRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Colorado Rockies in the past were an exciting team. Unfortunately, they lacked one thing that would have made them exciting where it really counts. In the postseason. It wasn’t always the same one thing, either. For the first 8 years of their existence, you could say they were missing a manager, but you would be wrong. It was worse than that, they had a manager who was so bad that they would have been better off with no manager at all. During several of those years, the Rockies had the talent to go to the postseason and do some serious damage. They even made it one year, 1995, because the season suddenly ended due to the player strike, too soon for the anti-manager, Don Baylor, to blow it. He was able to blow it in the playoffs, however, turning sure wins at home into defeats with horrible, inexplicable managerial decisions. After he left the Rockies, he finally reached his true potential, leading the Chicago Cubs to the worst season in that franchise’s woeful history.
The Rockies were exciting and they were also wildly popular, continuously selling out the cavernous Mile High Stadium through the first two years, then the smaller Coors/Molsen Field on Blake Street. You could feel the air start to leak out of the big purple balloon when they blew the playoffs in 1995 and Baylor arrogantly refused to learn from his boatload of mistakes. Crowds began to diminish until virtually the entire city became oblivious to the existence of baseball except on those rare weekends when the Nuggets, Avalanche, Broncos, Rapids, Mammoth, or Crush were not playing. Revenues began a steep descent as the brilliant management responded by relentlessly raising prices, changing managers, dumping the most popular star players, and finally killing the greatest feature of Coors/Molsen Field, the Monster Homer by soaking all the baseballs in brine. Then, all of a sudden, the Miracle of ’07 happened and people are excited about the Rockies again.
Through it all, though, the Rockies were an exciting team, even though they played horrible, undisciplined, losing baseball, primarily because they had a clueless front office, and with the exception of Jim Leland and Buddy Bell, the worst managers in the history of Baseball.
This year’s team will bring more excitement than any other, because there will be huge crowds of crazy fans eager to cheer the team on to the World Series. After last year, where the team was on the verge of being eliminated and yet held on for the Wild Card by winning 95% of their remaining games, the fans will believe the Rockies still have a chance in 2008, no matter how far behind they fall.
Unfortunately, this year’s group has nearly as many canyons as it has mountains. They may have the most potent offense in Baseball, and a great statistical defense. But they also have a pitching staff that is extremely suspect, particularly the starters, along with a starting catcher that can’t throw out runners, a rookie at second base, a leadoff hitter who can’t hit, a left fielder that can’t play left field, a buffoon for a manager, and a front office that thinks stumbling around in the dark is innovation. Also, other teams made sure not to waste their best pitchers on the Rockies in the past, but now they will all be gunning for them. Hitting may keep them from falling into the cellar, but unless the entire pitching staff has injury-free career years, they won’t have much of a chance of winning the division, although San Diego, Arizona, and Los Angeles have significant weaknesses as well. We won’t even mention the Giants. The Rockies may ride their offense into the playoffs again, but they won’t be as lucky as last year, when they got to face weak teams in the playoffs as a result of other miracles. In 2008, they Mets or whoever the Central division champs are, will probably beat the Rockies easily.
Staying close and making the playoffs is really all that is called for this year. Dropping low in the standings with no postseason will send the fans scurrying like rats to attend the aforementioned Denver Sports Teams.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )