Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bob Apodaca out as Colorado Rockies pitching coach

Apodaca is done as the Colorado Rockies pitching coach.
Ten years is a long time to do one thing. That is how long Bob Apodaca held the position of pitching coach of the Colorado Rockies.

He was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, reassigned within the organization as Special Assistant to the General Manager.

The reality is, it was time for Apodaca to go. The Rockies are headed down a historic path, and not the kind of history teams like to be a part of. The starting pitching for the Rockies has been so bad that the team has decided to go with a crazy 4-man, 75 pitch limit rotation to try and limit the damage.

For years fans have been calling for this move. Even after the 2008 season in which Clint Hurdle fired some of his best friends who were coaches on his staff, Apodaca remained, much to the surprise of many who followed the team. After Hurdle was fired and Jim Tracy took over, Apodaca remained in place.

The problem for the former pitcher is that too many pitchers regressed under him. Pitchers with serious talent simply never turned the corner under his tutelage. The list is long. Many fans point to the success of Felipe Paulino and Jason Hammel after leaving. However, the biggest example of his failures comes from the pitchers who had a good half season, then were simply lost on the mound.

Jhoulys Chacin seemed to turn the corner in the early part of 2011. He picked up the slack for a failing Ubaldo Jimenez. After the All-Star break, the Venezuelan righty has been terrible. His injury is the only reason he hasn't had a trip back to Colorado Springs.

Esmil Rogers was once a highly thought of pitching prospect for the Rockies. His fastball sat in the upper-90's and his slider had the potential to be devastating. After failing as a starter, Rogers tried his hand as a reliever. He was possibly even worse in that role, posting 8.06 ERA in 2012 after a 7.05 ERA in 2011. Although it is early, Rogers seems to be thriving in Cleveland. He has posted a 2.45 ERA in six appearances in Cleveland so far.

Hammel's success is far more documented. A starter relegated to the bullpen in September of 2011, Hammel was shipped off, thrown into the bunch of Rockies that were declared bad apples. Suddenly, the righty is a sure-fire All-Star while pitching in the American League East.

The list goes on and on. The reality, whether the decision was Apodaca's or not, as was reported by the team, is that it was time for the move.

Many Apodaca supporters said that the failures fall on the shoulders of the pitchers. They are right. The pitchers were the ones performing on the field. However, if the pitchers had quit listening to Apodaca, it was time for him to go. If the pitchers were listening to Apodaca, it was time for him to go.

For Rockies fans, the news is good. Whether Apodaca made the decision himself, or if the front office decided it was time for the move, it shows that changes are going to happen. Of course, the Rockies struggles do not simply get explained away by blaming the pitching coach alone. However, it is a start. It is one layer of protection that both Jim Tracy and Dan O'Dowd had before the blame lands on them.

The move is some sort of movement from a club that seemed like they had dug their heels into the dirt so far that nothing was going to happen during the season, and if anything happened after the season it would be a big surprise.

This team is headed towards 100 or more losses and the front office seemed content with the status quo. Despite calls from fans for some sort of change, the front office had done nothing but reiterate that they believed that the problems were not in the coaching staff, and not even in the clubhouse, but with Coors Field somehow playing differently than it has in the past, and the altitude taking a toll on players bodies.

This move is somewhat of an admittance that the team actually realizes that they have some issues.

This is a start to turning the Rockies around. It might take a long time to turn the ship all the way around, but it has to start somewhere.
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  1. It's a start but there are many more responsible management types that need to find other work. It is time for a very large broom to sweep through the organization and breathe some life into the Rockies. I hate the notion that this is a "throw-away" season. I did not sign up for that when I turned over $5600 for season tickets! If nothing else but pride alone - they should fight to get back to .500 for the season!

  2. Its a start - now fire Tracy and Carney Lansford. My gut tells me the Rocks could and would play better without any of their current managers.

    1. There is not enough emotion in this group of managers. We need someone with fire in their system who actually wants the team to succeed. The present group only looks for a paycheck.