February is almost here, and we all know what that means. Rockies baseball is right around the corner. After a very disappointing 2011-2012 campaign, the Rockies are back! However with the lack of any significant off-season acquisitions in the pitching realm, it looks like the same problems in 2012 could plague the Rocks again in 2013.
For a team that led the National League in batting average, placed third in runs scored, and fifth in home runs, Rockies fan have to be asking, “How the hell did we only only manage to win 64 games with this much offensive fire power last year?” The answer my friends is pitching. In 2012, The Rockies finished dead last in National league with a 5.22 team ERA. How did the Rockies address this issue in the off season? They addressed it in the media, and that’s about it.
Management told media and their fans that they would specifically target starting pitchers to help “bolster” their rotation in the off season. To anyone that watch that Rockies staff that finished at the bottom of the league in almost every pitching category last year, it could easily be said that the staff does not simply just need a little tune up. We should be looking at a complete overhaul. The Rockies pitching staff managed to finish atop the league in only one category last season, earned runs, an accomplishment that any organization should be completely ashamed to take the crown in. But as far as the Rockies are concerned these issues can easily be remedied with a few fresh bandages.
Now let’s take a step back and really look at the situation here. The Rockies are not the largest market team with a ridiculous payroll, so shopping for big name free agents and taking on big number contracts through trade is probably not an option. Also, Coors Field is not a very attractive field that many free agent pitcher to want to land themselves in. Coors field is the most hitter friendly park in all of baseball. With its high elevation, balls are known to come off the bat hard and fast, and they usually end up landing in the stands. Pitching in that altitude, even if it is a beautiful ballpark, is almost guaranteed to inflate any pitchers ERA a few points. All these factors make the teams patch up plan maybe not seem like such a bad idea. Think of it as building a staff from the ground up. This is the mindset most Rockies fans took into the off season, and the plan that the team sold through the media at season end.
Alas, the Rockies front office failed in this plan as well. Not only did they fail, but it appeared that throughout the whole off season the plan changed or someone in the front office forget what the team was looking for while they were making deals. Ricky Nolasco and Gavin Floyd were two of the first names heard in rumors as possible targets for Rockies starting pitchers. While certainly not aces to any other staff, either would have been a decent additions, for a reasonable price, to an abysmal pitching staff and at the very least a good start to building a solid staff. Neither were acquired.
Instead, the team signed 41 year old Miguel Batista and sinker baller Chris Volstad to minor league contracts. Miguel Batista threw in only 35 games last season pitching 52 innings between the Braves and the Mets last year, posting 33 walks and over a 4 Era in those games. Volstad was even worse than Batista in 2012! The man posted a 6.31 ERA in only 111 innings at Wrigley Field and was released by one of the worst teams in baseball! How are these moves helping to make the Rockies a better going into 2013?! You claim your dedicated to improving your pitching staff and these MINOR LEAGUE deals are the best you can do for your Big League club? What’s even more puzzling is the trade of Alex White for a reliever! While the kid did not post the most impressive numbers in 2012, he is still young and relatively inexperienced at the big league level. If your plan as a team is to rebuild and patch up your pitching staff, you would think that your front office would find it beneficial to keep your young arms and find a veteran presence to help mature the young guns. This is exactly what the Rockies claimed they would be doing in the off season, but, with the opportunity to sign two so coveted free agents and solidify the bullpen, I guess they forgot . These valued players would surely make any organization forget their rebuilding plan all together. I am being sarcastic of course, and Rockies fans have to be scratching their heads at these front office decisions. Who knows? The off season has not ended yet, and maybe the Rocks are holding out on some decent moves before Opening Day.
With all this said, the NL West is as it always is at the start of every season, wide open for the taking. With other teams in the division lacking any big name moves as well, the chances of the Rockies being able to power there way offensively through the league is not out of the realm of possibility. The slim chance still exists. If the club can manage to keep the dynamic duo of Cargo and Tulo healthy and on the field at the same time in at least 150 games or so, the teams chances of hanging around in the division increase a little more. Tyler Colvin, Charlie Blackmon, Michael Cuddyer, and Dexter Fowler all return to the Rockies after admirable 2012 campaigns at the plate, and this mix should give Rocks some depth at the plate and in the field should injuries occur. Roman Hernandez is back and should be ready to have a big year behind the plate and at the plate for the Rocks, and hopefully he will be able to lead the pitching staff in at least a positive direction throughout the year. In a pitching dominated division, maybe its time for offense to take the league by storm. It’s cold in the mountains ladies and gentleman.
Who do you think will have the most impact on the Rockies success in 2013?
About the Author
Written by Cameron Gibson
Hello, I am a nineteen year old baseball enthusiast, writer, and current baseball player. I play for Chipola College, a sports powerhouse junior college in Florida. I am in my sophomore year of studies. I attended Georgia Tech my freshman year where I also was a scholarship baseball player. I have played baseball since I was five, and I have been beyond blessed to have been coached by and spent time with some of the best baseball minds in the business from a young age. From Chuck Menzhuber, who holds records at the University of Southern California, to Danny Hall of Georgia Tech, I have been able to gain a deep understanding of the nuances of the game throughout my many years under coaches such as these. I lived in California for most of my life, so I am an avid follower of east coast sports and teams. I have lived on the east coast for the past three years, so I have also become knowledgeable of east coast teams sports teams as well.