With 162 games remaining, the owners, general manager and manager of the Colorado Rockies are optimistic as always. It is an optimism that is laughable at times, especially in the middle part of the last decade. This team is always a couple of minor league players away from a dynasty. While the Rockies may possess the two most talented players in team history with Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, the laughable optimism is slowly returning.
There are no expectations around this season. After some “experts” picked the Rockies to compete for the World Series the last two years, the endorsements for the Blake Street Boys are as hard to come by as Ubaldo Jimenez supporters in Colorado. The Rockies retooled their line up with veteran players and played the Vegas odds on their rotation. The highest predicted finish I’ve seen for the Rockies is third in the National League West.
Maybe with the pressure off the Rockies can find room to breathe in the thin air of a Mile High. Maybe the humidor coated balls will slide off the fingers of four new opening roster starters, one of whom is 49 years old Jamie Moyer. Perhaps Dexter Fowler, who is batted in the low 100s during spring training, will find his speed and swing under the Rocky Mountain background. Perhaps the black hole for the last year that is third base for the Rockies will fade into the grass of turned double plays, and Blake Street Bombs will find the bats of Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki all season. However, I for one am skeptical.
The Rockies said that the culture of the clubhouse was the reason for their problems the last couple of years. They unloaded the future stars of the Rockies who burned out quickly. They acquired players who have longer fuses of talent, but may be reaching the end of their careers. One of those players, Casey Blake, has already been cut from the team. The culture is different, but the problems remain the same.
The starting pitching is going to kill the Rockies. The hope is that Jamie Moyer’s arm and the Rockies’ season can hold out until Jorge De La Rosa comes back from Tommy John surgery. The Rockies are waiting on a middle of the rotation pitcher with a career ERA of 4.90 on the hope of a 5-2 record last year before his injury.
For the position players, there has been no emphasis on moving runners, the Rockies biggest offensive problem last year. If the Rockies continue with their home run or nothing attitude this year, than the team will be in the bottom five in the league by the all-star break. Even if they get off to a strong start like they did last April, what does it mean? They played poorly the entire season and were lucky to get wins early in the year despite their lack of hitting.
There is no way to predict a season. There are too many variables, but an organization’s job is to cut down on the question marks, give their team the best chance to win. The Rockies have not accomplished this. If the best case scenario happens for the Rockies, then they can make a book about it called “Powerball” and I will gladly eat my words. I just don’t believe gambling on inconsistent pieces is how you build a strong organization. One prediction about this team does seem easy. Colorado Rockies fans will buy ‘lottery’ tickets either way. That’s what their owners always count on.