Enough Already – The Post-Mortem of Your 2012 Colorado Rockies

Seems like a lifetime ago.

ROOT Sports mercifully took a day off of broadcasting the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. It’s about time. The Rockies pitching staff took yet another day off, giving up eight runs (“only” six earned) against the hapless Oakland A’s offense. The defense did not help, tallying three errors in yet another indication of the mess that is the 2012 Colorado Rockies.

In the three-game homestand against the A’s (not exactly the ’27 Yankees, let alone the ’04 A’s), the Rockies have blown two early leads, have been simply blown out, and have given up no fewer than eight runs in a game. As of EOB on Thursday, and with exactly 100 games remaining in the Nightmare of 2012, the Rockies are 24 – 38, 15 – 21 at home, and 9 – 17 on the road.

Stick a fork in it. This season is over.

Since the strong start to the 2010 season, these Rockies have been nothing more than a bad joke, a horror movie with no ending in sight, and a dumpster fire wrapped into one. If the Rockies organization is truly serious about authentic improvement and championship contention (that sounds out of place), it is officially time to blow this thing up. Anything short of an organizational garage sale is hopeless.

The Rockies must start at the top, and replace the entire front office, preferably before breakfast tomorrow. In an effort to rebuild from the ashes, the organization must embrace fundamental change to revolutionize their business model so fundamentally as to be (positively) unrecognizable. This team longs for better statistical analysis, improved amateur and foreign scouting, and wholly different player development tactics.

Since the drafting and development of Todd Helton, the Rockies have drafted and developed exactly one standout player (Troy Tulowitzki) and scores of others who have either flashed brief brilliance, failed miserably, or fallen just short of the latter.

Todd Helton was drafted in 1995. I started shaving shortly thereafter.

The acquisition and development of pitching talent is by far the most alarming element of the failure of these Rockies. Save several quality-yet-distinctly-not-dominant years from Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook, one extraordinary season from Ubaldo Jimenez, and periodic quality starting pitching from a variety of stopgaps and reclamation projects, Rockies pitching has been horrifying since the advent of the franchise.

This year’s starting rotation may well be the worst in Major League history, and it is highlighted by the presence of several of the Rockies top prospects of the last five years. As of today, who can be confident in the long-term potential of Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, and Christian Friedrich? Kevin Millwood, where have you gone?  Perhaps the most concise commentary on the state of Rockies pitching is the savior status heaped upon Jorge de la Rosa, who is about a year off of Tommy John surgery and has been absolutely shelled in every minor league rehab start since returning to the hill in May.

The team needs a new manager.  Jim Tracy’s  message has failed and his tactics are not working. Perhaps he has been unfairly blamed from the horrifying lack of player development or astute personnel moves of his superior officers, but Tracy and his coaching staff must go. This year’s team must be systematically dismantled. The Rockies surprisingly have several marketable assets, and should aspire to spin them off for a handful of minor league prospects.

Besides Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, everyone must go. Tulowitzki and CarGo share immense talent and a lack of effective leadership skills. Your faithful correspondent is hopeful that with a new organizational management team and improved talent on the roster, their respective abilities will continue to flourish as their leadership evolves.

Cuddyer has been the Rockies best free agent acquisition since Larry Walker, in one of the most underwhelming, non-competitive contests since the first Iraq War. A versatile veteran with a consistent stick, he should be given the benefit of finishing this season and starting next with the Rockies.

Unfortunately, the time for Dexter Fowler in Colorado must be nearing its end. I believe in Fowler’s talent and ability, but have tired of the organization scapegoating him at every turn. The yo-yo that has been Fowler’s career in the last three years in Colorado reflects virtually everything that is wrong with Rockies’ personnel management. If Fowler cannot start more than five days per week on THIS team, his future here cannot be promised. I imagine that he will blossom in a new environment, reaching the offensive and defensive potential that he has flashed in Colorado. As a young, relatively inexpensive talent, the trade yield should be solid for Fowler, even if he reaches his potential to be the modern-day Devon White.

It is time for the Todd Helton era to mercifully end. Helton will retire as the greatest Rockie in history, and hopefully the franchise’s first Hall of Fame player. But he should finish his career elsewhere, in the best interest of both parties. Helton could flourish for three more seasons as a periodic first baseman and regular designated hitter in the American League. He might even make the playoffs.

The Propaganda Machine formerly known as the Colorado Rockies may have you convinced that their model for Helton usage is rational and productive. Yet, since his demotion from everyday starter at first base in 2009, the Rockies finished 2010 by losing 13 out of 14, were 73 – 89 in 2011, and have experienced their most troubling first two months and change in franchise history in 2012. The model does not work, and the Rockies should do what is best for both parties by trading Helton to a contending, American League franchise.

Jason Giambi, Chris Nelson, Tyler Colvin, Ramon Hernandez, Marco Scutaro, and Josh Pacheco could all be spun in a trade to acquire a mid-to-low level prospect each. Failed experiments, unnecessary veterans, and underdeveloped young talent have no place on this middling franchise. Each is replaceable, and should be traded in the name of complete reconstruction of this organization.

The pitching staff may well be too much for any rational, well-meaning person to digest, your faithful correspondent included. Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle should appeal to contending organizations as competent relievers, and Jeremy Guthrie may have 25-cents-on-the-dollar value in the starting pitching market in July. The young Rockies pitchers should be allowed to finish the year, in order for the new front office to fully assess their abilities and for the basic purpose that someone must serve as the starting pitcher for the remaining 100 games.

Next season’s Rockies must have a distinctly different look on the field in 2013. More importantly, the Rockies must have a completely different look as an organization by the time the 2013 season begins. A new general manager, new front office personnel, new field management, and an entirely new organizational philosophy must be embraced. For too long, this team has under-drafted, under-developed, and under-performed.

The structure of the organization is the common ground of failure. Successful modern baseball franchises value assets appropriately, draft talent, scout and sign Latin American players of consequence, and develop young players to fill roles on a rationally-constructed Major League franchise. After twenty years on the playing field, it is time for the brothers Monfort to deliver an organizational format that thrives in each of these areas to the Rockies faithful followers.


  1. Simplesully says:

    O’Dowd only trades and acquires players from his former franchise(Indians). They must not be interested in any of the crap we’re showing these days.
    I think it needs to go even higher than your suggesting. The Monforts need to sell to someone/a conglomerate of owners interested in winning and not just having something to show off to their buddies.
    How in the world did this inept front office pull off a great trade for CarGo? Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

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