DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 15: Rightfielder Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies collides wth the rightfield wall as he is unable to catch a fly ball by Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants as he tripled in the sixth inning at Coors Field on September 15, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The hit completed the cycle for Sandoval. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
El Universal in Venezuela caught up with the Rockies outfielder, who says he'll take more precaution when it comes to chasing down balls hit to the outfield this year:
"Espero que este año me fije un poco más en cómo va el score y si vale la pena chocar contra la pared para atrapar un elevado"
Translation: "I hope to be more aware of the game's score this year if I'm chasing down a fly-ball." Cargo goes on to state that sometimes it's just really hard to stop when his instincts take over. At any rate, the Rockies wish to see less of the scene depicted to the right in 2012.
Troy Renck goes on the record in basic agreement with the club's stance regarding added team leadership being a good thing, and not down the road of David Schoenfield (as Brian linked in yesterday's Rockpile) or others in the SABR school that say talent is the only thing that matters, and will be the only thing that matters if the Rockies happen to win in 2012. Don't forget that according to many of these writers, the Rockies had the talent last season too, they were widely projected to win the division (even by Schoenfield himself,) despite having the post-hoc cherry picked duds such as Ty Wigginton, Jose Lopez and Esmil Rogers on the roster. It's in fact common for most contending teams to have two to three weak links like that going into a season. The Cardinals approached 2011 with ultimately unsuccessful players like Tyler Greene and Ryan Franklin supposed to play significant parts but still overcame that and put together a team by the end of the season capable of winning a World Series.
This season, the Rockies are trying to put together both the talent and the character they see as necessary to division winners in September and October rather than in February and March, and while O'Dowd's focusing on the latter to the press, fans shouldn't be naive that he's also making sure the leadership players that he's collecting also have the talent to help the Rockies become contenders. These aren't empty rah-rah types, but players that have generally been at least league average contributors throughout their careers.
I just have an issue when writers such as Schoenfield completely disregard that aspects besides what can be seen on a stat-sheet can impact a team. Unbiased analysis of these aspects might be impossible, but don't try to pretend they don't exist, and don't be so dismissive of GM's that do. That said, we can be critical when it appears that a GM such as O'Dowd overvalues leadership or character (such as appears to be the case with the Cuddyer contract) but that would be different from saying that the leadership or character of a Cuddyer will have no impact whatsoever. Rockies fans have enough February/March projected division winning trophies in their case to tell us that talent isn't the only thing that's important.
The Renck piece also has good news on Jorge De La Rosa being ahead of schedule in his recovery, but the Rockies won't rush the starter back. This is positive as there's typically a post-surgery re-adjustment phase for most pitchers who've undergone a season long rehab process. The Rockies rotation depth will allow them the luxury of not forcing JDLR back when he won't be as effective.
Patrick Saunders has more on the state of the Rockies rotation, with the team looking for an ace to emerge at some point during the season. While much has been made of O'Dowd's disappointment in Jhoulys Chacin's conditioning, the GM does have some positive thoughts on another young pitcher capable of eventually filling that ace role:
"When I saw Drew Pomeranz at the Fan Fest I about died," O'Dowd said. "He was a little rolly; now he looks like a man."