Even as Woody Paige writes the epitaph to a great 2009 season, Rockies fans looking for some solace after the toughest loss in franchise history can be consoled by looking forward to next year.
That's not to say that we shouldn't look back and honor the efforts of our team and what was a magical, pretty unique season. We Colorado Rockies fans are pretty spoiled in that regard, having two likable, heroic teams of destiny in three years.
Those who have read my posts know that I generally don't give a bunch of weight to the "intangibles" like chemistry, but this team really did seem to function very well as a unit (not a collection of individuals), creating a sum that was far more than its parts. Jim Tracy, if nothing else (and some would argue that this is the case), allowed the considerable young talent on this team to gel and create the best team in Rockies history (more on that tomorrow). With this patient, powerful offense, improving defense, and excellent young pitching it's clear that there's much to look forward to next year.
Rockies Fans hope to see more Rocktober baseball next year
For those who are still grieving (and there's certainly nothing wrong with that) think back on the indelible moments of 2009 (the Spilly Slam, the Barmes "catch", Seth Smith and Jason Giambi's late game heroics, and many more). One of my favorites happened Monday night when Dexter Fowler briefly turned into a superhero. In case you're ready to look at next year a little bit (and Purple Row will be doing a LOT of that over the next few weeks) here are a few articles to whet your appetite:
Analysis: With some exceptions, the Colorado Rockies appear to be in great shape for the future - The Denver Post
Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders write about the flaws and strengths of this team moving forward into 2010 and look at the offseason decisions the team faces.
In the article the DP writers reinforce the notion that both Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy will be back for a couple of years. Meanwhile, they expect Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe to be gone (something I've been calling for since perhaps the lowest point of May) while they think that Huston Street and Clint Barmes will be back on multi-year deals.
The Barmes debate is a pretty tired subject on the Row, but I will admit that the taste the second baseman left in my mouth was a sour one and that I believe he'd be best suited to a super-utilityman role and not a starting one. For better or worse, as long as Tracy is managing this team, Barmes will likely be starting at second base.
Renck and Saunders also opine about the bullpen and starting rotation next year as well as the catching situation. For the most part I agree with them (especially on the last point).
Rockies looking to build upon solid base - USATODAY.com
Vicki Michaelis writes a similar article outlining the major decisions the Rockies have this offseason.
Hawpe, Marquis face uncertain futures | ColoradoRockies.com: News
Thomas Harding writes in more detail about the situations the Rockies face with Hawpe and Jason Marquis, their 2009 All-Star Game representatives. My guess is that neither will be back.