Rockies Optimists Head for Scottsdale

As the Rockies begin their journey to Spring Training, Wilin Rosario is headed to arbitration. Rosario is requesting 3.3 million and the Rockies are offering a 2.8 million dollar salary. Either way, it’s a huge pay increase for Rosario.

The Rockies enter Spring Training optimistic that if they can remain healthy their chances are good. With an infield comprised of 3 gold gloves and the NL batting champion, an outfield with a two time all star, and some great looking young prospects, one might be led to think this could be a pretty good ball club. A few problems arise out of this hopeful optimism. Problem number one is that the Rockies are in the NL West and the entire division has added strength during the offseason. Problem number two is that the best offense and a great defense will only take you so far if you can’t pitch. The Rockies are pinning their hopes on Chacin, De La Rosa, and newly acquired veteran Kyle Kendrick. Throw in sophomore Tyler Matzek and righty Jordan Lyles. They also have a hew strong prospects in Butler and Gray but those guys aren’t ready for the show yet. If the Rockies could find a way to add a quality starter that could eat up innings, go at least 7 innings while giving up 3 or 4 runs, it would sure help their situation. As they have proven, when their starters can only go 4 or 5 innings, it definitely causes some pain in the bullpen.

The NY Mets are supposedly still interested in trading Gee and I hope the Rockies will go after him. It would be a shame if the Rockies, with such an awesome defense and a potentially awesome offense, would remain in the cellar because they didn’t have enough quality pitching. Time will tell.

Can the Rockies Compete in the NL West

With everyone in the NL West beefing up their lineup (including the San Diego Padres), you have to wonder why the Rockies are basically doing nothing. I guess their feeling is that with three gold gloves and the NL batting champ in the infield, how could you make it better. In the outfield they have all star Carlos Gonzales and a group of young and talented outfielders. They have improved behind the plate with the acquisition of Hundley and McHenry will be a great back up. I realize they want to kepp Rosarios bat somewhere in the lineup, but hellooooooo, someone still has to pitch. We know the Rox can score runs, hit home runs and be very competitive offensively, but someone has to be able to pitch and preferably for about 7 innings. Mr. Monfort is going to have to open up the purse strings and let Bridich go out and find some pitching. A lot of teams would love to have the offense and the defense that the Rockies posess, and with some decent pitching they would be extremely competitive. If the Rockies would acquire some pitching, there’s no reason that if they can stay healthy, they could compete in the NL West. Without some decent pitching you can expect them to dwell in the cellar again.

Rockies Have New GM and New Pitching Coach’s

The Colorado Rockies pitching staff posted the highest ERA (4.84) over the 2014 season. To combat their lack of production along with the altitude, the organization hired fresh blood in Steve Foster as the new pitching coach and Darren Holmes as its bullpen coach.

Foster, 48 served as the bullpen coach of the Miami Marlins from 2007-2009 and the Kansas City Royals from 2010-2012. For the past three seasons, he has been the special assistant and pitching coordinator to Royals general manager Dayton Moore. Holmes, 48 returns to the Rockies organization where he was a relief pitcher from 1993-1997. He was actually drafted by the Rockies from the Brewers in the fifth round of the 1992 expansion draft and was on the Rockies inaugural opening day roster in 1993. Holmes rejoins the Rockies as staff after spending the 2014 season with the Atlanta Braves as their biomechanics pitching consultant.

Both of these men have a lot of work ahead of them. Rockies pitching has been crippled by injuries and has lacked the necessary depth for years. In 2014 their starters had an ERA of 4.89 and the relievers had a ERA of 4.79, both last in the National League.

Couple these new pitching changes with the decision to promote and hire Jeff Bridich as the new general manager to replace Dan O’Dowd after 15 long mostly unproductive seasons with the organization, and fans in Colorado are excited about baseball again in the Mile High City.

The franchise has never had problems actually selling Rockies tickets, due to the amazing venue and locale but the quality of play has real baseball fans frustrated and calling for change. It will be interesting to see if this new staff will jump start and ignite this Rockies organization and if a legitimate pennant race can actually become a reality in Colorado.

Rox Should Be Sellers

It’s pretty frustrating watching the Rockies lose night after night. Sooner or later, if they want to compete they are going to have to acquire some major league pitching. I understand all the problems they’ve had with injuries, but they need a starter or two that can get past the 5th inning, so they can stop burning up the bullpen. Maybe it’s time for the two headed monster (Gievett and O’Dowd) to move on. Get one good solid GM and move his office out of the clubhouse so that Weiss can manage and the GM can be a GM. The Rockies have one of the best (if not the best) defensive infields in MLB. They have an abundance of talented outfielders, so maybe the Rox should part ways with Cargo and see what they could get for him. I think the Rockies fans have been patient and supportive long enough. Get a GM who can evaluate talent and put a competitive team on the field. Let Weiss run the team on the field without someone looking over his shoulder and breathing down his back. The trade deadline is approaching…………do something!

Rox Erupt in Opener

There’s no place like home and for the Colorado Rockies they were obviously happy to return to Coors Field and play before a sellout crowd of over 49,000. Their bats sizzled and their defense sparkled as they routed the Arizona Diamondbacks 12 to 2 in their home opener. Juan Nicasio, notorious for not getting past the 5th inning, displayed his new confidence along with a nasty slider to hold the Dbacks in check for seven innings enroute to his first victory of the year. The star of the day was Charlie Blackmon with his silencing of the critics showing off his defensive skills and a 6 for 6 record setting performance at the plate. Everyone got involved in the offense including a massive home run from Carlos Gonzales. The Dbacks are a lot better team than the start they’ve gotten off to, but maybe the Rox can continue to take advantage of the Dbacks slow start.

Fish take 3 of 4 from Rockies

The season opeRockies vs Marlinsner for the Rockies was not real encouraging. Once again pitching was not their strong suit. The Rockies started off the season with two starting pitchers on the DL, Jorge DeLaRosa and Tyler Chatwood. Seems to be a epidemic throughout MLB with all the pitchers hurt. Still not much of an excuse for dropping three of four to the Marlins. There were some highlights with Tulo making a patented play in the hole with a strong throw to get the out at first, and Michael Cuddyer picked up where he left off as the NL batting champion with a solid series (7-17 with a HR). After getting blown out 10 -1 in the season opener, the next three games were all close with the Rockies taking the third game 6 – 5, but came up short in the rest. It looked like The Rox would claim a W in the final game when they at one time held a 5 – 2 lead but that was short lived. It looked like Belisle might get out of trouble in the eighth but it wasn’t to be as the Marlins rallied for an 8 to 5 victory. Today April 4th is the home opener for the Rockies and an expected crowd of over 50,000 is hoping to see the Rockies prevail against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Pitchers and Catchers Report on Feb 15th

In just one week on Feb. 15th pitchers and catchers, roster and non roster invitees, report for spring training in Arizona with workouts scheduled to begin two days later. The Rockies made some moves in the off season in an attempt to strengthen both their bullpen and their starting rotation. Eddie Butler and Jon Gray highlight the list of 24 non-roster players the Rockies announced on Tuesday have been invited to Major League camp.The full non roster list includes 12 pitchers: Christian Bergman, Brooks Brown, Burke, Butler, Corpas, Yohan Flande (L), Gray, Hernandez (L), Martin, Masset, Scott Oberg, Josh Sullivan. The Rockies hope they solidified their starting rotation by adding Bret Anderson from the Athletics and Franklin Morales from Boston. These two guys will be competing with Juan Nicasio for a back end spot in the rotation. Tyler Chatwood did a great job once being called and with his experience and maturity he acquired last year, he should compliment Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge DeLaRosa in the starting rotation.

Pitchers and Catchers Report

The Colorado Rockies need to be better than a chance to watch a baseball team battling to avoid posting the worst record in the MLB during the 2013 regular season. Fans at Coors Field do not care if the offense is among the best in the league at this point. The pitching has caused far too much pain and GM Dan O’Dowd needs to provide them with a much improved product from the mound in order to keep his job.

O’Dowd has taken this truth to heart in the offseason. So far he has done much to improve the bullpen and is still in search of an answer for the starting rotation. The bullpen additions include Wilton Lopez, Mike McClendon, and Logan Kensing. Lopez is a bittersweet addition. O’Dowd felt compelled to trade away promising starting prospect Alex White after run-ins with the law because of drinking and driving. White would likely have been the fifth starter, but after the DUI and lies to the organization it became difficult to consider keeping him. So, the Rockies now have a solid setup man (Lopez) and were forced to sign a low-cost starting pitcher named Jeff Francis to act as a bridge to another prospect for a season.

McClendon is a minor league reliever who has to make it in the majors this season. He is 27 years old and is close to becoming a career minor leaguer. Kensing had his time in the majors, but had an injury and has never quite made it back. This season will likely not see him in a Rockies uniform.

There has been a focus on pitching, but the offense, or more accurately the defense has had a glaring hole in the last few seasons. Colorado experimented with Ian Stewart at third base and now the time has come to move on. To this extent, O’Dowd traded away for Ryan Wheeler. Wheeler has had a stint in the majors last season and has demonstrated the ability to make contact with MLB pitchers on the mound. He will spend the most of the season in the minors, but will eventually see time in a Rockies uniform.

All this will make Walt Weiss’s return to the baseball diamond interesting. He was part of the original Rockies roster and has since helped as an advisor. Now he is going to manage the baseball team, hopefully spurring a worst-to-first season. At least, this is the kind of magic fans with Colorado Rockies baseball tickets are hoping for at Coors Field in 2013.

Rockies are Sellers

I guess the Rockies have pretty much come to the conclusion that this season is a write off and a rebuilding year. The Rockies are leaders in a lot of offensive categories, but without pitching the process seems futile. I was hoping they could stay close in the NL West and go out and find some pitching for the stretch run but that’s not happening. The Rockies by all means should be sellers as the July 31rst trade deadline approaches. Some of the names discussed are Marco Scutaro, Eric Young, Rafael Betancourt, and of course a lot of teams inquire about Matt Belisle but I don’t think he’s going anywhere. (At least I hope not). The Rockies now have more rookies on their roster than any other team in the National League and a few of them are showing signs of future promise. Wilin Rosario leads all catchers in home runs, Jordan Pacheco is leading all NL rookies in batting average, and recent call up Josh Rutledge has shown great range at shortstop along with some pretty potent offense. The rookie pitchers, well that’s a whole different story. Alex White is back down in the minors and neither Drew Pomeranz nor Christian Friedrich has been very impressive. Apparently the Rockies organization has a lot more patience than I do. The Rockies are still exciting to watch although it can get a little frustrating watching their offensive efforts go to waste. Then again, every once in a while they get a decent pitching effort and at the same time their bats go to sleep. Go figure! Maybe these rookies will get enough playing time and experience to make an impact next year.

Halftime – Looking Up

The All Star game was won for the third consecutive year by the National League. Carlos Gonzales made his first All Star appearance and the halftime break has come to an end. The Rockies can only look up as they begin the second half in the cellar of the National League West 13 games out of first. After a very frustrating first half, plagued by inconsistent pitching, poor defense, and plenty of injuries, the only thing the Rockies can do is look up and try to play respectable ball. There have been plenty of highlights and surprises in the first half. Dexter Fowler has put together a great first half. CarGo as usual is putting up strong numbers, even without the injured Tulo batting behind him. Cuddyer had a typical Cuddyer first half, although his numbers have been deteriorating of late. Nelson and Pacheco have filled in nicely in the infield and Rosario has shown some power although he still has a lot of work to do behind the plate. The best story is Tyler Colvin. He is making it so that Tracy cannot keep him out of the lineup and causing the question of where to put him. He’s played mostly in right field and occasionally at first base. When he plays right field Cuddyer either plays first or sits out. When Cuddyer plays first it causes Helton to sit out. It’s a good challenge to have but one that Tracy is going to have to find the proper solution for. Turns out to be one of the better trades made by the Rockies as Ian Stewart has not produced for the Cubbies and is now out requiring surgery on his wrist. On the sour side, Tulo is out and hopes to return sometime in August, Nicasio is out at least until September, DeLaRosa’s rehab is not going well and he could be out until next year, Chacin is trying to make a comeback from his injury and should begin a rehab in triple A soon. The starting pitchers have been just plain lousy. They can’t seem to find the strike zone and can’t seem to get past 4 or 5 innings, sometime less. The three B’s, Brothers, Belisle and Betancourt have been really good coming out of the pen, but that’s about the only bright spot for the pitching staff. I imagine there will be some faces leaving by the end of the trade deadline in July. Potential candidates would be Jason Giambi, Ramon Hernandez, Marco Scutaro and possibly Betancourt. Hopefully management doesn’t get too crazy with a fire sale. I’d like to think the Rockies could still make a run. They definitely have the offense, just need to find some pitching.