It goes without saying that Rockies’ fans have had a tough year. Coming into the season this group was supposed to win the franchise’s first ever division crown, and, after the start they had in April, the expectations were only heightened. Now, just a few months later, the situation has become unsalvageable. Whatever glimmer of hope that was brought on by the second half has been completely obliterated by three straight losses. Last night’s beating left me feeling like Paul Giamatti in Sideways. Today, I’m still feeling a little sorry for myself and I think that means it’s time for another Blake Street Therapy Session.
The Rockies as a whole have been a collection of disappointing parts. It’s useless to try and point to any one area as the reason for their sub-par season. So, instead of complaining about one thing today, I’m going to gripe about five. Without further ado, here are the five most disappointing things about the Rockies’ season thus far.
There is a reason why expectations were so high for the Rockies. Coming into the season, it didn’t seem like it would take much to put them over the top. However, one key spot that needed addressing was second base. Not only did O’Dowd fail to improve the position, the move he did make — Jose Lopez — actually made them much worse off. The addition of Mark Ellis was a big help, but it came way too late.
Now, O’Dowd is faced with the task of turning this team into a seller. If he’s smart, he won’t trade Ubaldo, but more on that in a bit. Whatever happens over the next month, it might be time for the Rox to go in a different direction at GM. For a very long time, O’Dowd has been getting by with mediocrity because he was supposedly building a top notch farm system. However, the system has not lived up to its billing. At some point, there has to be accountability for failing to draft impact prospects year after year.
Jim Tracy has micromanaged this team into the ground. He started over tinkering with the lineup in spring training and hasn’t stopped since. The list of players that he has given up on now includes Ian Stewart, Dexter Fowler, Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr., and Seth Smith against lefties. The treatment of Fowler and Stewart is particularly frustrating. Fowler was providing value and never should’ve been sent down. Meanwhile, Stewart is just now getting a fair shake. Not to mention, Tracy has made some very curious substitution choices all year. And then there is the fact that he continually insists on playing Ty Wigginton in the outfield. Basically, he has become the complete opposite manager than he was when he took over in 2009.
Failure to reach potential
I gripe about Dexter and Ian not getting a fair shake, but it’s their fault too. Neither guy has developed into the impact player that they can be. However, it’s not just Dexter and Ian, this whole team has failed to reach its potential. And, quite frankly, so has the farm system. Prized prospect, Tyler Matzek, isn’t even with a team right now as he has gone home to work with his own personal pitching coach. Rumor has it that the Rockies messed up his delivery. Recently, in Keith Law’s updated top fifty prospects, the Rox only landed one player on the list and he’s still in Modesto. Underperformance has been an organizational wide theme this season.
Ubaldo trade rumors
I can’t believe we have reached this point. I still doubt a trade will happen, but the fact that it’s even being discussed is downright depressing. Denver has been waiting for an Ubaldo for almost twenty years and now he might get traded in his prime. Even if nothing happens, the team and especially Dan O’Dowd owe it to the Rockies’ ace to mend the fences. I don’t see Ubaldo as one to hold grudges, but, if any of this mess lingers over into next year, it’s as much the GM’s fault as it is Ubaldo’s. Certainly, this year has been pretty awful, but it’s important to remember how close this team really is to being legitimate contenders. Losing Ubaldo would put them much further away from that goal.
When the Rockies are going well, I can mostly tolerate Dinger. However, right now, nothing drives me more nuts than having to watch the purple dinosaur dance behind home plate when the Rox are down by five runs — though the Toyota Talk scroll is a close second. Dinger continues to fail year after year. I wouldn’t mind seeing him gone in the off-season either.
Oh well, I guess there’s always 2012.
What’s your opinion? Who or what are you most disappointed in this season?