|Chad Bettis has been destroyed by the Rockies.|
On July 22nd, after another blown lead by the bullpen, it feels as if the Colorado Rockies have been on a 14,000 foot slide down the standings. After Tuesday night's loss, the club has lost 24-of their last-28 games.
In 2007, the Colorado Rockies reeled off 21 wins in 22 games to get to the World Series. The run was as miraculous as it was exciting. As great as that streak was, as unbelievable as it is to look back on that run, the current losing funk that the Rockies are in the midst of is equally as impressive, for the complete opposite reason.
In all three games in Pittsburgh to kick off the proverbial second half of the season, the Rockies had a lead and watched their bullpen blow the lead. The trend continued on Tuesday, as Yohan Flande gave the Rockies more than they could have asked for. Despite a line that tells the story of Flande giving up four runs in five-plus innings, much of the damage occurred when Chad Bettis came into the game with two runners on base. With his glove on his left hand, Bettis carried his kerosene in his right.
Brooks Brown gave up two earned runs in just a third of an inning, then Rex Brothers predictably gave up a solo home run that gave the Nationals a three run cushion and essentially put the nail in the Rockies coffin for the night.
Dick Monfort slipped up in his radio interview with 850 KOA a week ago. He allowed it to be known that Bill Geivett was taking the blame for the Rockies failed play on the field in 2014. It would be easy to suggest that it is yet another excuse that Dan O'Dowd is feeding to Monfort in order to preserve his own job.
While Geivett has absolutely zero redeeming qualities in what he brings to the table, to blame only Geivett is completely ignoring what has been one of the Rockies main issues for several years, the failure of the development department.
O'Dowd has been the lone man completely in charge of the minor league operations according to Monfort and the Rockies. In those two years, one trend has not only continued, but has become even more glaring than it was in the past.
Take a look at the prospects that the Rockies have developed, or have allowed to come to the big leagues over the past couple of years. One trend seems to be extremely common, especially in the pitchers. They all have a certain level of initial success, then they don't simply regress, the absolutely implode.
Chad Bettis is a good example of that. While his numbers in his cup of coffee in 2013 were nothing to write home about, he showed plenty of promise as a starting pitcher. With only two very good pitches, the Rockies accurately decided to make him a member of the bullpen. It is what he did in college and all signs pointed to him being a solid bullpen member for the Rockies in 2014.
Instead, Bettis looks like he has no business on a big league mound. His pitches fool no one and his ERA has done nothing but balloon into the Colorado thin air.
Another example of that is a guy currently trying to figure out his way in Triple-A. Juan Nicasio made the jump from Double-A to the big leagues in 2011 because he was looking like an ace in Tulsa. He made a quick impact in the big leagues, and has regressed to the point that even those suggesting that Nicasio is better suited for the bullpen are having their doubts about his ability to be a decent Major League pitcher.
Bettis and Morales are just two examples. How about Drew Pomeranz. The lefty dominated the minor leagues in his short stint before his call-up. He looked to be the real deal, which justified the Rockies decision to make a huge trade to acquire him. When he made his big league debut, his first two starts were great. However, the Rockies felt that he needed to change his arm slot and pitch to contact more. They made him work out these "issues" in Triple-A. When he finally made his way back to the big leagues he looked like a deer in the headlights.
Rex Brothers is another example. This is a guy who threw 96 MPH from the left side. However, the Rockies convinced him that he should also pitch to contact and throw in the low-90's instead. The results have been horrifying.
The Rockies development department has ruined the careers of so many young pitchers that it is hard to keep track of all of them. While Bill Geivett takes the blame for what is happening on the field at the Major League level, who is the guy responsible for making sure that the talent available at the big league level has been adequately prepared is non other than O'Dowd.
If O'Dowd can't develop the talent at the minor league levels, and in several cases his development plan actually leads to regression, how is it Geivett's fault that the team at the Major League level can't seem to figure out how to win?
The reality is, O'Dowd has pulled the wool over Monfort's eyes for so many years. There is always a scapegoat. There is always a reason for the Rockies failures. If he isn't blaming the players for not trying hard enough, he is blaming the altitude for causing injuries. When those excuses have run dry, he set up a new system in which he can blame Geivett for his failures.
In the end, nothing will change unless the Rockies make big changes in the front office. Dick Monfort doesn't necessarily need to sell the team, but he needs to step away from the decision-making process. With that, he needs to remove the other decision-makers as well and bring in baseball people who are not in over their head. After 14 years, it is clear that O'Dowd's plan for success is one that involves everything going right in order for success to be had. It is a plan that ends up working once or twice every 15 years.
That level of success might be alright for ownership, but fans want more. They are tired of the same old story every year, and they are tired of hearing about how good the prospects are down on the farm. The time for change is now. It isn't at the end of the season, it isn't after the 2015 season in which another batch of prospects comes to the big leagues underprepared. The time is as soon as possible.
It doesn't matter if Monfort doesn't know a single person in the baseball industry beyond his own employees. He needs to do his research and let someone else have a shot at the job. He owes it to the fans.
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