Thursday Rockpile: Your guess is as good as the GM's as to what 2012 Rockies will look like.

First of all, I'd like to apologize to Holly and Andrew for missing my shift with the game thread and wrap last night. It was a mental lapse, I lost track of what day of the week it was until it was too late. Apparently missing game threads for whatever reason is a bug that's going around Purple Row, and I'm really sorry I caught it. It was completely unintentional. Maybe subconsciously we're projecting that we all wished this season ended a couple of weeks ago.

In that vein, I'm not sorry that I missed another disappointing performance by the Rockies, another  "embarrassment" by the team, to use Dan O'Dowd's term for the 2011 team itself in an interview with the Denver Post's Troy Renck.

That article is kind of interesting, if by interesting I mean stomach turning, as O'Dowd outlines what may happen during the offseason for the Rockies, including taking the payroll up, taking it down, or keeping it level. In case you didn't notice, it doesn't seem that there's a clear direction for the team there, and it makes me feel, I don't know, "embarrassed" that I defended O'Dowd earlier this summer for still having a plan as to what to do with the Rockies.

Furthermore, there seems to be a disconnect between what O'Dowd says he wants to do, add impact hitters or pitchers, including a 200 inning pitcher, and avoid marginal players, and then his ideas of how the Rockies will accomplish this. He suggests the possibility of keeping an in-house platoon at third base (possibly including Ian Stewart, who has been the definition of marginal while with the Rockies) or trading for expensive and only mildly effective veteran innings eaters like Carl Pavano. The 35 year old Pavano's fastball has been deteriorating, losing almost two miles per hour since 2009, and in fact, it's been the third least valuable fastball in the majors this season according to FanGraphs. He's become a finesse righty, a breed of pitcher that does not typically last long at the major league level. For 2012 with a move to the National League, there's a chance that Pavano comes back with a season similar to his 2010, but there's at least as strong a chance that he doesn't, and we would be looking at a season like Bronson Arroyo has provided the Reds, a lot of innings pitched saving the young arms, but too few of them effective to make the Rockies competitive.

Despite the Rockies scoring only 19 runs in their final seven game homestand of the season, and only 439 runs at Coors Field this season (the team's second lowest total in franchise history, to 2008) Renck reiterates that he feels the team's biggest need is on the pitching front. The Rockies are not interested in Aramis Ramirez, another indication of that disconnect with O'Dowd, as it's my opinion that Ramirez is more likely to make an impact next year than any of the players mentioned in the full article save perhaps the Mets' David Wright. Given the dismissals of other players that are worthwhile, it's seeming more likely to me that Wright's either a pipe dream or an unrealistic carrot kept dangling on a stick to distract fans rather than a serious attempt to acquire an impact bat.

On the run scoring front, the Rockies need to score 11 runs in the final seven road games to avoid having the lowest ever in that category (not counting shortened strike seasons) by the franchise, a dubious record that was set by the 1993 expansion club. You may deduce that having the second lowest home scoring total ever and if the club's contending for the lowest road scoring total, than the Rockies would be in position to threaten for a franchise low in overall runs scored. You would be correct, in 2005, the Rockies had their lowest run scoring total ever at 740. Currently, the 2011 team has 697 runs with only seven games left to play. If they manage to average just over six runs a game on this final road trip, they'll avoid being  the worst scoring Rockies team ever. Again, anybody who says that pitching is the team's biggest need is really not paying attention.

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