“Basically what I am saying is that I should never have this conversation with you again. To say it extends just beyond 2013 would not do justice to Jim. It could be until he’s using a cane and having trouble getting onto the field. Quite honestly, it can be for whatever number of years Jim wants it to be for.”
On the face of it, this quote by the GM is somewhat alarming. After finishing 16 games below .500 and subsequently gutting a clubhouse that apparently couldn’t hold itself accountable, the Rockies have extended their manager indefinitely. To many, this is an outrage. After all, this is the guy that Keith Law consistently calls one of the worst tactical managers in baseball, something I agree with. Over the last season and a half, he’s been at the helm of a talented yet underachieving team. It’s been one curious move after another, and after last year, most fans didn’t want him back. In a BSB poll last fall, the overwhelming majority said exactly that — Fire Jim Tracy. So the collective freak-out that occurred when the Rox announced Tracy’s indefinite extension is understandable. However, even for the most adamant Tracy detractors, there is no reason to get overly worked up about this. The fact is, it basically changes nothing.
The first thing that needs to be pointed out here is that there was no actual extension. He didn’t get a raise. He didn’t get more years. All he got was a vote of confidence from the GM. In the world of sports, a handshake agreement is worth about as much as a Zimbabwe Dollar. All of this is a little weird and probably unnecessary, but firing Jim Tracy, if deemed necessary, will be just as easy as it was a week ago.
So, if this was all merely a symbolic gesture with little actual substance, why would DOD and the Rockies even waste their breath? Another aspect of this that can’t be ignored is the timing — right at the beginning of camp with the position players still a week away from officially reporting. If the Rockies truly wanted to give Tracy a strong vote of confidence, they would’ve done it last fall. The first sentence of the quote above says it all – I don’t want to spend all season having conversations about my manager’s job security. The rest is just lip service, something easy to say outside the pressures of the regular season.
The talk of canes and Tracy managing the Rox into perpetuity is not what most fans want to hear. However, I seriously doubt the franchise will abide another 73 win season. In that scenario, who is going to be the scapegoat? It won’t be the new high character clubhouse and we know for certain that it won’t be the GM. The truth is that the pressure on Tracy is the same just with less media scrutiny now. If they win around 80 games or more, he’ll be back in 2013. If the losses start piling up though, he’ll be gone.
I say we wait this out before getting all in a tizzy about it. Some fans are already irate, but in the end, don’t we want the Rockies to have a great year? If the team struggles to the point where the manager needs to be fired, that will be miserable. I’m no fan of Jim Tracy, but that doesn’t outweigh my desire to see the Rockies win in 2012. Let’s keep this in perspective. It was a vote of confidence at the most optimistic point in the season. Come October, if the Rox finish under .500, then I’ll put some stock in what the GM says about the manager’s job security. Until then, let’s just enjoy the fact that baseball is back.
Follow @Logan_Burdine on Twitter.