Maybe nobody wanted to trade for Chris Iannetta. That is entirely possible, even for a veteran catcher with at least a bit of a track record. But boy, if there was interest from a contender, the Rockies probably should have pulled the trigger at the trade deadline, eh?
Nick Groke points out the harshness of the decision to cut Iannetta as compared to how the Rockies usually do business. And it feels “desperate” and, I would also say, relatively sudden. The Rockies probably thought they were keeping Iannetta until the day they needed to shake things up. It’s a strange move when the moment to potentially trade him had passed and when the moment to harmlessly keep him was two weeks away.
Groke also wonders if this might be a warning shot to underachieving veterans. I’m skeptical. Iannetta was cheap and on his way out anyway. This doesn’t feel like a move that has any big-picture implications as much as it just feels like a front office that went on tilt and wanted to scratch that itch without actually making a major move.
This topic is a balancing act. On the one hand, I have no doubt that veteran leadership matters. I also have no doubt that I don’t know how much it matters or how this plays out day to day, because I’ve never been in a locker room. I am left to take the players’ words for it and, to an extent, the words of writers and reporters who talk to those players.
So with all of that out of the way, I’ll say this: I’m not really tracking with this piece from Aniello Piro. I believe Kyle Freeland and Nolan Arenado when they say they miss the leadership from Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gonzalez. But I don’t think that proves anything about what has gone wrong this year, however appealing it might be as an explanation if it means the Rockies don’t have to confront their lack of talent and depth as compared to real contenders.
Replacing Parra and CarGo’s playing time with David Dahl and Raimel Tapia is an upgrade. I have a hard time hearing arguments otherwise. And if the Rockies were good, we might be pointing to those changes as improvements. I think you can acknowledge Parra and CarGo’s leadership and how it’s been missed without giving it too much credit for this season’s downfall, because if you do give it more credit than it deserves, you partially let Jeff Bridich and this front office off the hook for a seriously flawed roster - a roster that is now entrenched in last place.
There are some points here about the decision with Iannetta that are interesting. Certainly it’s good to send the message that players need to perform to keep their jobs, as Kevin Henry notes. Then again, that wasn’t really the message with veterans last year, and not necessarily on a consistent basis this year.
I’ll say this, and it’s something Groke noted in his piece linked above: it’s weird timing to make a statement with a “tough” move. And it’s a weird player to cut to make that move. You could have just called up Dom Nuñez in September and kept Iannetta’s veteran leadership for young pitchers through the end of the season.
So I don’t know what all went into this move, but I do know that it holds no water as a “tough” move that shows you need to perform to keep your job as long as Ian Desmond is around and has been for the last three seasons.
I like Richard Justice. I have a ton of respect for him and frankly could never do the job he does as an MLB columnist who covers the entire league. With those niceties out of the way, let’s play a game: how can you tell when a writer or analyst didn’t pay close attention to the Rockies last season?
Answer: when they dub Scott Oberg as a “pleasant surprise.” Oberg’s performance certainly has been pleasant for a season that has otherwise been miserable, especially in the bullpen. But I wouldn’t call it a surprise for the Rockies, not when Oberg was a go-to reliever in the playoff race last year. I dare say they were expecting, or at least hoping, for Oberg to be a reliable reliever in the back of the bullpen this season.
I would dub Tony Wolters, and specifically his offense, as the pleasant surprise. But that’s easy for me to say since I just write about the dumb Rockies and am never tasked with columns about all 30 MLB teams.
On the farm
Double-A, game 1: Hartford Yard Goats 2, Portland Sea Dogs 0
Double-A, game 2: Portland Sea Dogs 2, Hartford Yard Goats 1
Short Season-A: Boise Hawks 2, Hillsboro Hops 1