One day after manager Jim Tracy resigned, the Rockies dismissed hitting coach Carney Lansford and third base coach Rich Dauer, increasing the coaching carnage in the week after Colorado's worst ever season.
Dauer not only acted as the third base coach, but he also oversaw defensive play, particularly in the infield. The Rockies ranked last in the NL in UZR, fielding percentage, and defensive efficiency and committed the most errors in the majors. By any measure, the Rockies' defense in 2012 was abysmal. While a large factor in that was a significant number of innings played by rookies and players out of position, a case is not hard to make against Dauer in that regard.
Carney Lansford is quite different and is the first undeserved fall guy to fall for this year. Lansford oversaw the breakouts of Dexter Fowler, Chris Nelson and Wilin Rosario and the resurgence of Tyler Colvin. Despite being given a lineup full of rookies, the offense was extremely productive. It is difficult to properly gauge team offensive production through traditional statistics like batting average and runs, as park effects and run scoring eras play havoc with raw numbers. Fangraphs' wRC+ is park, era and league neutral, so we can measure the 2012 offense against past versions at 20th and Blake.
Not only was the 2012 Rockies' offense better than the playoff Braves and Reds, it was the third best Rockies' offense in the humidor era, trailing only the two playoff years. That feat is made more impressive with the unpolished talent Lansford had to work with. And in case you suspect the poor Rockies' pitching artificially manipulated the park factor, note that it would have increased the park factor, artificially deflating the park-adjusted wRC+. If anything, 93 may be lowballing it.
Lansford's dismissal signals to me that a managerial search will focus on candidates from outside the organization. Any incoming manager may then have a say in who his coaching staff is, which broadens the net. That must be the reasoning, because Carney Lansford is not at fault for the Rockies abysmal season. In fact, he may have the case for the least fault. As these things go, that doesn't matter. Even with the Rockies, change happens after a 98-loss season. Will it be positive change?
Perhaps the most frightening prospect of change for Rockies fans is summed up in a quote from ancient Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu:
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
Changing vehicles or drivers does not guarantee a new direction, and the organizational direction is what fans doubt most. We won't really know the direction has changed until results are seen. Until then, anyone and everyone will have opinions on the Rockies and how to achieve that direction.
It's amazing what being a quality person to those in your workplace can do. Under Tracy, the Rockies went from a 103 win pace in 2009, to 83 wins, to 73 wins, to 64 wins. Tracy himself was not responsible for all of this. Even Jay Jaffe, will admit to that, and he takes every opportunity afforded to rail against Tracy. He certainly does not seem result in positives on the field, and yet his resignation is almost mourned.
Troy Tulowitzki: Lessons to be learned from Jim Tracy's resignation | ColoradoRockies.com: News It is as if every player just saw their father fired.
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