|Jorge De La Rosa was brilliant once again for the Rockies.|
That should be the greatest fear for all fans of the Colorado Rockies.
In a week where Rockies owner Dick Monfort was exposed to the wrath of the fans, a week in which he had to finally stare at the reality that the status quo simply won't cut it anymore. It is a feeling that has been fueled by yet another failing season in which injuries have become an excuse once again.
The drama has been great for the Rockies in the long-term. It essentially has forced Monfort to do something. He can no longer go about pretending that nothing is wrong and that all fans are thrilled with the future of the club, regardless of the consistent failures of the team.
In the short-term, the outcries from fans have been refreshing. The point is finally being made. Monfort clearly had no idea that the complains of the fans weren't the vocal minority, but rather, the general consensus from fans in the Rocky Mountain region.
However, look at this Rockies team and realize that even though the 2014 season is lost, this team is bound to improve as the season comes to an end. Carlos Gonzalez has returned from injury, Brett Anderson is coming back to the mound on Sunday. Based on simple logic, the Rockies should improve from their historically bad June that they just finished. They simply cannot be as bad as they have been.
If they improve, as they should, the week after the 4th of July might be easy to forget in September. If the Rockies are looking like they might be on the right track, and they are closing the gap back to .500 as the season wraps up, it might be easy for Dick Monfort to suggest that Dan O'Dowd isn't the problem. The wrath of the fans might be a thing of the past. It would be easy for him to chalk it up to frustrated fans after a frustrating month. The feeling that Monfort must have right now is that changes have to be made. If the heat and passion from fans dies off as the season moves forward, it might be easy for him to forget how necessary changes are.
However, Monfort must remember that this is the same front office who didn't think it was important to re-sign Jorge De La Rosa before the season started. That move alone suggests that O'Dowd believed that the Rockies have more than enough pitching depth heading into the 2015 season. A few injuries and things became very clear, the Rockies perceived depth is nowhere close to what it needs to be.
De La Rosa, who picked up his 10th win on Friday night, moved past Jeff Francis for most wins in club history by a lefty with 65 wins as a Rockie. Quietly he is becoming the best pitcher in club history. As Matthew Gross from PurpleRow.com pointed out on Twitter, the Rockies are 44-8 in the last 52 games that De La Rosa has started at Coors Field.
The reality is, not even attempting to re-sign De La Rosa in the past off-season may be the worst decision that O'Dowd and the front office made. The Rockies and O'Dowd simply don't have enough pitching depth, and thinking that they can afford to lose the best pitcher to wear their uniform in 22 years of baseball suggests a complete lack of understanding of what his own club's weaknesses are.
As the July 31st deadline approaches, De La Rosa's name is going to continue to come up in rumors. He has been linked to the Orioles and others already. With team's looking for that last piece that will push them over the edge and get them in the playoffs, De La Rosa will be a hot commodity.
While it might be tempting for the Rockies to deal him, they would be making a big mistake. If they show him that they value him, they will have a very good chance of re-signing him in the offseason. It is well known that De La Rosa loves pitching at Coors Field. He loves being a Colorado Rockie. The fact is, while the Rockies continue to tout their prospects in the lower levels of the minor leagues, De La Rosa could sign a two or three year deal and bridge the gap until those prospects are ready to go.
The key for the Rockies is to improve in the second half of the season and build towards a 2015 season in which they might have the arms to keep themselves in the race. There has to be some reason for hope going into spring training.
However, while Rockies fans should certainly root for the team to have success, and give themselves a reason to be excited for the future, this week should not be forgotten. Monfort may be hoping that everything calms down after the All-Star break, but the demand for changes needs to not die down from Rockies fans, but to continue to grow. Fans should be happily watching their team improve, but demand that they not be led down the same road again in 2015.
The Rockies will get better as the season moves along, but the euphoria of winning can't negate the feelings of this past week, where the temperature boiled over to the point of complete rage against the owner of the team. Monfort needs to know that the only way to enter the offseason is by doing nothing short of firing himself as president of the team. He needs to bring in help, and it has to be done as soon as possible.
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