|The Rockies are the only ones who can't see how bad this guy is.|
It wasn't the announcement that many were expecting. Most thought that Jeremy Guthrie, the biggest trade mistake Dan O'Dowd has made, would be dealt. Instead, the announcement was that Guthrie was going to the bullpen. That isn't a huge surprise, but the continued logic from Jim Tracy left those who follow the Rockies scratching their heads.
Tracy told the media that not only was Guthrie moving to the bullpen, but that the club was going to go with a four man rotation with each pitcher limited to 75 pitches, regardless of when that pitch count arrived.
The Rockies manager continued with logic that can only be understood by him. The reason for the move was to save the bullpen from being over-taxed. That's right, a 75-pitch limit for starting pitchers was going to save the bullpen.
There is no way to spin it. There is no way to justify the move. It is simply ridiculous. It is the latest in a long line of moves that suggests that Tracy has no business being in a Major League dugout.
Of course, some of the Rockies apologists have already justified the move by talking about how ineffective the starters have been. They have made the point that with a five man rotation, the bullpen is being so overused that often times a young starter has to sit out on the mound and watch his ERA go through the roof because there simply isn't anyone to eat the additional innings.
The problem is that, as Tracy was criticized for in his two previous managerial stints, it pawns all of the struggles onto the players. He suggests that something drastic has to be done in order to get better results. Instead of thinking about making a drastic move that involves his pitching coach, Tracy lays the blame on his young starters. By doing this, he also indicts Dan O'Dowd for not giving him enough talent to work with.
Think how the starting pitchers must feel about this move. They are limited to just 75 pitches, which means very rarely will they make it through five innings. That means that every fourth day the starting pitcher will take the mound and have a chance to lose the game, but only every once in a while, and only when that pitcher is nearly perfect, will he have a chance to win the game.
They almost certainly will never come away with a quality start. To qualify for that stat, the pitcher must go six innings and give up three or less runs.
So what? Those numbers don't mean anything. Baseball is all about winning and losing. The only issue is that players numbers are what determines their paycheck. When it comes time for a player to negotiate with the Rockies, or whatever team they may be looking to go to in free agency, a pitcher with a 2-9 record and no quality starts is not going to get the kind of money that they most likely would have earned simply by being in a typical starting rotation.
This is a throw-away season for the Rockies. They know it. They knew it when O'Dowd agreed with Tracy on a handshake agreement before spring training began in earnest. It is fine for the front office to realize that it was going to be a tough year to compete. Honesty is a good thing. The only problem is that in acknowledging that this year had the potential to be a bad one, they have excused all poor decisions and moves. The front office has determined that any bad decisions made on the field or off will be chalked up to a throwaway year. That has allowed for an attitude of mediocrity to creep throughout the entire organization. It allows bad decisions and doesn't punish bad behavior.
The Rockies starting rotation is on pace to be the worst rotation in the history of the game. When those numbers are thrown around, listen to who Tracy blames. He first blames the players for their lack of talent, composure, focus, or any other number of issues. He then blames youth and inexperience. When youth and talent have been exhausted, he blames Coors Field. After that, he points to injuries holding the team back. Never, however, does he point the finger at himself. Never does Tracy acknowledge that the message might not be sinking in. Never does he question publicly what pitching coach Bob Apodaca might be trying to get through to his pitchers.
Tracy said on Tuesday that when things are going as bad as they have been, something different has to be tried. The first thing he comes up with is some quasi four man rotation with a pitch count. So the logic isn't that these pitchers are failing because of a bad game plan, bad coaching or any other number of reasons that could be conceivable. Instead, he comes up with a plan that defies conventional logic and reeks of desperation.
The move is so bad that it literally raises question as to whether Tracy is seeing just what he can get away with while still keeping his job. Questioning whether a manager, coach, or player is actually trying to win is walking on thin ice. These guys have committed their lives to this, however, this move makes no sense whatsoever. There is simply no logic that can justify it.
This Rockies team has become the laughingstock of Major League Baseball. An organization that was on the brink of long-term success just three years ago now looks completely lost. They look worse than they did in the early 2000's. It is frustrating to watch. It seems that everyone sees the issues, everyone sees the problems, but those in the front office are either blind to it, or choose to ignore it.
This is going to get worse before it gets better.
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