This apparently came as a surprise to the Rockies, having Jim Tracy walk away from the team. Those of you who have been around for any amount of time know that I'm not a fan of the Rockies now-former manager. I don't like his lineup decisions, I don't like the way he manages a bullpen - I just don't like the way he does his job.
Now it seems as if I've been granted my "wish". Just not in the way I expected it.
Tracy told Denver Post writers Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders in a phone interview that he is not the "right man for the position". While I can't agree more, I just can't sit comfortably with this particular event.
What I wanted out of the Rockies and Jim Tracy parting ways was the team to say:
"We do not feel that Jim Tracy is the right man for the job. There have clearly been some good times, including a downright dominant June-September of 2009 which led to the team's 2nd playoff appearance in 3 seasons. But ultimately, it was time for this organization to make a change."
Instead, we're seeing the Rockies being dumped by Tracy in a very "it's not you, it's me - but it's actually you" fashion.
This tells me that the organization is still in such disarray that they still aren't recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses properly. They wanted Tracy to come back. Tracy is notorious for being the type of manager who would rather go with a mediocre veteran over a struggling young player who just needs time to fight his way through a rough patch. The Rockies are in a place where we are going to be seeing significant playing time distributed to players such as Wilin Rosario, Josh Rutledge, Jordan Pacheco, Chris Nelson, and eventually, Nolan Arenado, yet they'll likely still have a smattering of veteran players to complicate the playing time allocation. This is the proclaimed bread-and-butter of this organization: growth from within. Tracy isn't the guy for that job, and yet the team was set to have him manage the team forever.
Mind you, I'm not trying to kick the guy now that he's officially down. I've been saying these things for months - years, even. There are cases to make FOR Tracy, including the fact that he didn't lose the clubhouse, as Clint Hurdle had. Carlos Gonzalez told Troy Renck that he "regretted" Tracy's resignation, as Tracy had given Gonzalez his shot to prove his talent (which flies in the face of the above veteran-vs-prospect criticism). But I stick by my criticism.
What's so flabbergasting is just how this happened. The Rockies moved Bill Geivett into the clubhouse, they instituted Project 5183, and they essentially told Tracy that they were going to meddle with everything he would be doing as the manager of the Rockies. There are going to be some clubs that operate with more front office input into day-to-day operations - it happens. This more or less seems like they sprung all of this on Tracy, though, and that's going to be a challenge for any manager to work around.
Furthermore, the Rockies intend to make major changes to the coaching staff. While it's way too early to make a case for Bo McLaughlin, especially given the fact that the whole piggybacker system was instituted while he was being the pitching coach, he could be one of the guys being let go. We might also see Rich Dauer and Glenallen Hill replaced. I don't think anybody is particularly nailed down, so they could all be in a rough spot.
The two coaches I would hope are retained moreso than any others (I really don't have much of a problem with any of the coaching staff) would be Jim Wright, the Rockies bullpen coach, and Carney Lansford, the Rockies hitting coach. Colorado had a very solid bullpen this year, and players such as Jason Hammel have credited Wright for their individual turnarounds. While there's always a lot of conjecture regarding Lansford's effect on the Rockies bats, we saw a breakout-type season out of Dexter Fowler, the reclamation of Tyler Colvin, and very surprising production out of guys like Chris Nelson, Jordan Pacheco, Wilin Rosario, and especially Eric Young Jr.
Even so, these guys might be looking for a new club to coach this offseason, and boy I can't wait to hear the rationale behind the moves, should they come.
Additionally, the Rockies will be speaking with Mark Wiley in regards to the new Director of Pitching Operations within the organization. Not necessarily a bad idea, I'm interested to see where this goes.
I suppose the final thought here is that I still don't see the Rockies front office with a hard-and-fast plan to stick to. They still want to grow from within, and they want to find new ways to pitch in Colorado. All of this is resulting in the team throwing new personnel and positions at the problems, hoping they can fix enough of the leaks in the house without having to replace the plumbing.
All of this was enough to get Jim Tracy, the manager who nobody really thinks is the right man for the job, to walk out on the Colorado Rockies. It's hilarious to see a bad manager walk out on a decent team (regardless of how that never really happens), but to see a bad manager walk out on a bad team is just sad.