Whether it is at the end of this season, or sometime before then, Aaron Cook will end his tenure as a Colorado Rockie.
However, if the Rockies have any chance at making the postseason, that difficult decision needs to be made sooner rather than later. As in, before his next start.
Moves like that are easier said then done. Keep in mind, Cook is the all-time wins leader for any Rockies pitcher. His 69 wins are more than any other pitcher to don the purple pinstripes. Sometimes though, tough decisions need to be made, and this is one of those decisions.
After Saturday's 8-1 debacle in which the Rockies never really had a chance, Cook continued to look nothing like the pitcher who had mastered the sinker and was throwing complete games with less then 100 pitches.
Some might argue that Cook needs to be given a chance to find his groove, that he is struggling because he has been removed from a Major League mound for so long that he hasn't been able to get back into the swing of things.
The problem with that argument, however, is that Cook has been nothing short of awful since his All-Star appearance in 2008. His ERA has never been close to below 4.00, and asking Cook to protect a lead has been mission impossible. On top of that, the sinkerballer seemed determined to mix in a curveball. He came into spring training in 2010 eager to tell the media that he had developed the breaking ball and that he would be utilizing it.
He certainly has been utilizing the curveball, however, hitters have also been utilizing it, sitting on the hanger and driving it.
Why change what has been working? Cook was effective as a sinker ball pitcher. There was no reason for him to try and trick batters. Much like Mariano Rivera, who throws a cutter that everyone knows is coming and still can't hit, Cook should simply throw the sinker and let hitter's frustrate themselves by driving the ball into the ground.
The biggest reason the Cook should be let go is because he is to pitching what a double play is to a rally. When he is on the mound, he kills any momentum the team has built up over the past few days. After a big win on Friday night in New York, the Rockies should have come out ready to take the series on Saturday, regardless of the fact that they were facing CC Sabathia. However, the energy level was nearly non-existent, and they played lethargically all day long.
It was as if the Rockies had conceded before the game even began. Take a look at Jim Tracy's lineup and try to argue differently. Obviously there are times when guys need to sit on the bench and take a day off. With Sabathia on the hill, it is as good of time as any to give some lefties the day off. However, how in the world can Tracy even consider putting Seth Smith on the bench right now? Smith is one of the hottest Rockies hitters. He won a game for him in Cleveland single-hand-idly and nearly won the finale, but came up two feet short of a ninth inning home run.
With Smith out of the lineup, Tracy also chose to sit Chris Iannetta, who admittedly caught the night before, and many times a catcher will sit the day after a night game. However, on top of Iannetta, who had an extremely productive night on Friday, Tracy possibly made the most head scratching move of all. He inserted Eric Young into right field. That has happened before, however, the Rockies and everyone who watches EY play know that putting him at second base is questionable. Right field, however, is a total joke.
If there was any question that the Rockies looked lethargic on the field, it may have been because Tracy had essentially conceded the game before it ever began.
Those types of games completely stop any type of momentum a team might be carrying. If there is one thing that has been certain, it is that these Rockies are a team that lives and dies by momentum. If they have it in their favor, they win, if they don't have it in their favor, they lose.
With Aaron Cook on the mound every fifth day, it poses a serious risk to the Rockies ever gaining serious momentum. If they want to go to the playoffs, they must put aside feelings and emotions and find a way to remove Cook from the rotation.