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Tuesday Rockpile: Something Has Gone Horribly Awry

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Pretty much, Jim. Pretty much.
Pretty much, Jim. Pretty much.

It's a slow news day for Colorado, and most of the news isn't the kind you'd want to read about anyway. So I hope you'll allow me a little mea culpa.

I was wrong.

About so much, really. About Colorado winning the division, first and foremost. About the Rockies being in first place when Troy Tulowitzki came back from injury. Here was my prediction column to begin the season. Commence laughter at my own ineptitude. I insist. If only I could go back and warn Jeff of Six Months Ago of the calamities that were to ensue.

I did get a few things right, I suppose. I tabbed Tulowitzki and Ubaldo Jimenez as both All-Stars and 6+ WAR players, I predicted that Jason Hammel would be a 4 WAR-type player, and when the team was 34-30 in early June I predicted they would not dip below .500 again.

A lot went wrong for the Rockies in 2010 (and plenty went right too), but I'd rather not discuss it until the season is complete, and because the 2010 season is deserving of a full PR Academy audit. Instead, I will comment briefly on how I've experienced this season. It's been a long, strange trip.

After the Rockies were eliminated in 2009 from the playoffs, I began to throw myself seriously into analyzing the baseball offseason for the first time ever. In doing so, my anticipation for actual baseball was heightened to a point it had never been before. I felt I knew the team really well, and that I understood its place relative to the rest of the division, which is why I felt so comfortable in guaranteeing a division crown.

And when I attended games this year, I saw that division-winning team (which is what makes the current state of affairs so darn frustrating). The first game I attended, June 8th against the Astros, was the only one the Rockies lost in my presence. The final six I went to were all Colorado victories, including some pretty memorable games, many of them one-run affairs (that's a .857 winning % for me). But I digress, back to the narrative.

As the baseball season began though, I became utterly swamped in schoolwork. Taking 21 credits your last semester of college will do that to you. As a result, the mediocrity that was the first 1.5 months of the season went largely unobserved (or at least unanalyzed) by me. When I graduated in May, I began traveling almost immediately for most of the summer, missing quite a lot (including the long losing streak) in the process.

In other words, I went from being very prepared and locked-in to the Rockies in the offseason to what amounted to casual fandom from various foreign locales. After I returned in August, it was a different team that I was following than the one I had left. Though injuries had decimated the team and poor play persisted, Colorado was still in the race. When things finally started to click and Colorado pulled off that 20-6 stretch culminating in the 10 game win streak, my faith in Rocktober magic, lost in the dog days of summer, had been restored.

And then, just like that, it was ripped away from me again over the last two weeks. Baseball is a wonderful sport, but sometimes it sure can be a cruel one.

News and links after the jump.

Rockies' Giambi likely out for season - The Denver Post

This might be the last we see of Giambi in a Rockies uniform. Of course, that's what I thought after the 2009 season too, and look where we are now.

Four Rockies among Pioneer League top prospects | Inside the Colorado Rockies
Pitcher Albert Campos (2), catcher Will Swanner (10), shortstop Christhian Adames (12) and outfielder Rafael Ortega (18) from the Rookie level Casper Ghosts are among Baseball America's top 20 for the Pioneer League.

Three of the four made the Purple Row Prospect list, though in a very different order (Ortega 10, Swanner 17, Campos 20, Adames mentioned on only one ballot). Regardless, the talent level on this year's Casper team portends well for the Rockies' fortunes about four years from now. This is crucial because Colorado might not have the services of Gonzalez at that point.

Rockies’ option on Olivo becomes mutual | Inside the Colorado Rockies
MLBTradeRumors.com reports that the Colorado Rockies' 2011 club option on catcher Miguel Olivo has become a mutual option with his 110th appearance.

Not only did Jim Tracy continue to play Olivo as he regressed to his natural talent level (and then even below that), harming the team's 2010 chances, he allowed the catcher's contract clause making his 2011 option mutual to vest, giving the option of hitting the free agent market regardless of what the Rockies want. It is likely he will be back, though. It's obvious that Tracy prefers Olivo to Iannetta at this point, and I'm not looking forward to another frustrating season at the catching position for Colorado.

This removes some of the flexibility held by Dan O'Dowd for next year's payroll, money that could be spent towards retaining Jorge De La Rosa. Yuck.

Awards Watch

While it's highly unlikely that Jimenez, Gonzalez, or Tulowitzki are rewarded with the Cy Young or MVP, there are a few awards that could be won by Rockies players this year. Tulowitzki is the odds-on favorite to win his first Gold Glove (and the prestigious overall Web Gem points award) and Gonzalez has a shot to win one too. Both men have a great chance of winning the Silver Slugger award at their position, while Jimenez has won the hearts of Rockies fans everywhere (and has been a big help in the Rockies leading MLB in pitching WAR).