Monday, November 22, 2010

MVP, Cy Young votes bring little confidence in Tracy

With the National League awards complete, there is one thing that is certain. The 2010 Colorado Rockies underperformed.

The Rockies did not bring home any hardware back to Coors Field beyond a couple of Gold Gloves, but they definitely were represented.

The team that plays a mile above sea level were the only team to have both a pitcher in the top three of the Cy Young voting and a position player in the top three of the MVP voting. On top of that, the club also had Troy Tulowitzki cruise into the fifth spot in the National League, despite missing 33 games with a broken wrist.

What does all of that say? It says two things. First, the Rockies were an individually talented team that failed to play as a team. Second, the club was extremely talented and failed to play to expectations.

Of course, injuries played a huge part of the Rockies coming up short. Missing Jorge De La Rosa for two months certainly cost the club games. Tulowitzki missing from the middle of the lineup for a month was also costly. However, there is an easy conclusion to why the Rockies were an afterthought in the postseason race.

The answer is not necessarily nice, but it is hard to ignore. The 2009 manager of the year, the man who was able to turn the Rockies around just one year earlier, was the major reason why the team underperformed.

When the Rockies started out slow once again in April and May, Tracy talked about how much time the team still had to make up the gap. When the Rockies went 2-9 on a road trip that was all but the nail in the coffin after the All-Star break, Tracy said that his team struggled to play in the heat and humidity of the east coast. When Tracy put Paul Phillips behind the plate in a crucial game down the stretch in Los Angeles, Tracy said that they had already won two of three in the series and needed to rest his other two catchers. When the Rockies were finally knocked out of the race, Tracy referenced the teams injuries.

The fact is, when a team is as well represented in the postseason awards, that team should have been playing in October, and if they fell short, they should have been in it until the final weekend. What did having two of the best five players in the National League, and one of the top three pitchers in the league get the Rockies? A third place finish in a division that did not produce the wild card.

So what happened? The Rockies were extremely top-heavy. Their star players are superstars. They are in the leagues elite. Beyond that, however, there was no middle ground. Players who were supposed to be part of the supporting cast fell flat on their faces. Instead of them being challenged to improve, all that came from the manager's office was excuses.

The team also seemed to have a double standard. When Chris Iannetta struggled, he was sent back to Triple-A. When Seth Smith and Ian Stewart struggled, they continued to toil in the big leagues. When the Rockies were failing to get the ball into play, Tracy complimented the pitcher on having good stuff.

The fact is, the Rockies were a major failure in 2010. The votes conclude what fans already know. They had the star power to compete well into October. Whether fair or not, when a team loaded with talent like the Rockies fails, a certain amount of fault has to lie with the man filling out the lineup card. With the talent that resides in that clubhouse a manager should almost be able to sit back and watch the team win night after night. Instead, Tracy found himself over managing and making excuses.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com


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