Over the weekend, Dan O’Dowd went on a political style campaign tour to make sure everyone listening knows that the state of the Rockies’ pitching is Coors Field’s fault. That’s the way it seemed anyway. First, the great Jerry Crasnick of ESPN published a story about how Coors Field is playing like Coors Field pre-humidor days. At least, that’s what Dan O’Dowd claimed to Crasnick. (It’s worth noting that I also had a piece on the Rockies for ESPN that was published as a side post to Crasnick’s. It’s about defense, which I’ve written about on here plenty of times, but it might be worth a read anyway.) And secondly, DOD gave a rather gas inducing interview to KOA’s Rockies Dugout on Saturday, which was recapped here by Chris.
These two interviews left me with the impression that the Rockies’ beleaguered GM is frustrated, disappointed, a little angry, flippant, and most of all completely without answers as to how to turn this thing around. They were not confidence inspiring interviews, to put it lightly.
Dan O’Dowd, the Monforts, and Jim Tracy need to stop using Coors Field as an excuse. Do they have an uphill battle because of the conditions of their home park? Almost certainly, but it’s pretty foolish to spout off about how Coors is back at pre-humidor offensive levels when you ignored the importance of GB% and defense this past off-season. We may not know everything there is to know about playing baseball at altitude, but we do know a couple of things for sure – you have to play excellent defense and it really helps to keep the ball out of the air as much as possible. I don’t know if O’Dowd was out to disprove this or what, but the additions of Guthrie and Cuddyer seem to indicate that he doesn’t believe those two things to be true. Essentially, he claims that he hasn’t been able to figure anything out about Coors during his decade plus tenure as GM. Of course, us peons can’t understand that, but DOD assures us that’s because we don’t live Coors baseball like he does.
Not to mention, even if the home stadium is playing like it is 1995 again – which I don’t believe for the record – you have to stop talking about it. This is the hand they’ve been dealt. The stadium is new and beautiful and probably the number one reason why their attendance is so solid despite the team being pure garbage. They can’t put a dome on it and they aren’t moving from Colorado. Tailor the team to fit, and instead of bemoaning how tough Coors is on the pitching staff, start talking about how it is a tough place for opposing teams to play. When the Rockies are at their best, it’s because they murder opponents at Coors. Their mindset needs to change from “Woe is us. It’s so hard here” to “Opponents hate coming to Colorado because they can’t win here.” The kind of defeatist attitude displayed by Tracy and O’Dowd lately is the poorest kind of leadership, which might be the number one problem currently faced by this organization.
Now, let’s move on to CarGo….
Last week, there was some talk out of New York about trading for Carlos Gonzalez. I dismissed that talk as meaningless chatter from Yankees fans thinking they can just have whatever player they want. However, on Saturday night, I received an e-mail from Jamey Newberg, the man behind the extremely popular Newberg Report, which is the go to source for all things Rangers – big leagues and minors. It was about CarGo and if it had come from most blogs, I would’ve laughed it off and sent some sort of ridiculous trade demand, e.g. Harper, Strasburg, and Gio straight up for CarGo. However, Newberg is different, so it got my attention.
Let’s start off by saying this: CarGo isn’t going to be traded. So, all of this is just lip service. It’s meaningless chatter. If it were coming from the Rockies side, like it was last year with Ubaldo, then there would be something to it. That’s not the case. But, what probably has or will happen is that teams will be calling the Rockies. They might be calling about Scutaro or Belisle and merely gauging their interest in trading Gonzalez, but they will be calling quite a bit over the next month. Inevitably, the Rox will be asked about CarGo. They are sellers. That’s how it works in July.
Now, I understand why everyone is so angry about these rumors. CarGo is pretty awesome, on the field and off. Not only that, he is locked up to a great deal and is one of the few bright spots on the team this year. However, whenever the phone rings and an opportunity arises to make your team better, you have to remove emotion from the process and at least listen to what’s being said on the other end. If a trade proposal were placed on the table and we truly knew that by trading CarGo the Rockies could quickly turn themselves back into contenders, that’s a trade that needs to be made. The good news – or depending on how you look at it, bad news – is that there is very little chance of a trade like that ever being proposed, like probably actually a 0% chance. Baseball doesn’t work like that.
I think most Rockies fans are a little spooked after the house cleaning that took place last year and that’s why there is so much fear that this will happen. But, the truth is that rumors of great players on awful teams being traded are rampant every year around this time. Most of the time, nothing comes of it, but a blockbuster went down here last year so the rumors are carrying a little more weight with people than usual.
To begin with, there are very few teams that could afford to give up the package of players it would take to get CarGo. The Rangers might be one of those teams, but even the package Jamey presented on his site Sunday morning wouldn’t be close to enough. I told him it would take their number one prospect (Jurickson Profar, a SS who could play 2B here), a solid big league starter, another starter that is on the verge, and at least two big time arms in the lower minors. But here is the deal – no team is going to walk into a trade that lopsided. Ever. In addition to that, while I think the Rockies can be awfully foolish, I don’t believe they are foolish enough to trade their best player for a bunch of developing pitchers, especially since they have been complaining about their own inability to develop pitchers lately.
Carlos Gonzalez is here and will be for a very long time, unless he decides he wants to leave. So, let’s just take it easy. He’s ours. Those greedy, rich bullies in the AL will just have to go find their own Little Pony.