So, what’s the plan?
Words fail to capture my relief that Jeff Bridich is no longer calling the shots for the Rockies. Hopefully, the era of paying sub-par free agents who are past their prime big bucks is over. Hopefully, the era of treating superstars like garbage (see Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado) or not recognizing them (DJ LaMahieu) is over. And one can only hope the condescending attitude that the front office knows best and should not be questioned is over.
The only problem is that with the Rockies front office, it’s hard to differentiate anyone’s decisions from Dick Monfort’s. How much of this is Bridich’s fault and how much is Monfort’s? Did Bridich bamboozle Monfort into bad decisions? Were they a Lloyd-and-Harry duo with a competitive debate on who is dumb and who is dumber? Or does it all come down to the micromanaging owner?
It seems like now would be a really good time for a plan. Bridich’s departure is worth celebrating, but a possibly equally bad scenario now exists that Monfort is now calling all the shots with a new team president who is not a baseball guy in Greg Feasel. The Rockies need a president, so Feasel is a start. But he’s a former football player and a businessman. What the Rockies need is a front office full of baseball experts, a fully-funded, respected, and listened to analytics team, and probably a team of physicists and sports scientists to solve the altitude and altitude hangover problems.
The Rockies are planning on hiring an interim GM soon and will commence a full-fledged search after the 2021 season. The interim and long-term GM have a lot on their plates and need to develop a plan immediately of how the Rockies are going to move forward. There are still five months of baseball to play this season. How can this time be used in the most valuable way?
Do the Rockies prioritize youth, using the time to develop players and ignoring game outcomes? At 9-15, that kind of seems like the way to go. Whether or not they used the dreaded rebuild word, do the Rockies trade Trevor Story and Jon Gray and start building back the depleted farm system?
There needs to be a plan. The Rockies made some roster moves on Thursday, suggesting that some sort of plan is in formation, but one move is very curious.
As much as I like Sam Hilliard, he had to be sent down. With 19 strikeouts in 37 at-bats, his strikeout rate is 48.7%, which is worst in the NL. He is hitting .108/.154/.324. He’s a good fielder, but he can’t take up a roster spot at this point. Hopefully, with regular at-bats, he can find his groove.
So, what’s the Rockies answer for the outfielder’s demotion? A 32-year-old first baseman named Matt Adams. Really? I guess we couldn’t talk Mark Reynolds out of retirement.
First base is a position that can be played by CJ Cron, who is playing very well of late, Ryan McMahon, who is still tied for most homers in the MLB through Wednesday’s games, and Josh Fuentes. Fuentes is admittedly off to a rough start, hitting .181/.178/278. But someone, whoever is making the roster decisions right now, thought it was worth it to bring in Adams, a guy who hasn’t had an at-bat in 2021 and hit .184/.216/.347 in 49 at-bats in 2020.
Meanwhile, the outfield is left with four players, one of whom is also an infielder, Garrett Hampson, and another, Charlie Blackmon, is in the midst of the worst offensive slump of his major league career. Maybe Blackmon is coming out of it, but going into Thursday’s game vs. Arizona, he was hitting .176/.309/.294. At this point in the season, the Rockies need to have Hampson, Tapia, and Yonathan Daza in the lineup on a regular basis. Outside of being an outstanding fielder, Daza is hitting .306/.300/.408 going into Thursday. Tapia is hitting .284/.344/.420 and Hampson is hitting .256/.308/.451. That trio represents 32 percent of the team’s total hits, 26 percent of the Rockies runs scored, 23 percent of the team’s homers and RBI, 24 percent of the walks, and 64 percent of the stolen bases.
Manager Bud Black seems to be experimenting with the lineup, with Blackmon hitting fifth Tuesday and Wednesday and then sixth on Thursday. Maybe it’s working as Blackmon has five hits in those three games, especially considering it took him 12 of the previous games to get five hits. I love Chuck Nazty. I still hope he comes out of this, but by bringing up a first baseman instead of another outfielder, the Rockies have limited their freedom to rest Blackmon and play the hotter bats. Unless, they are planning to go Ian Desmond mode again, which is a terrible plan.
Out of 603 times of playing defense in the major leagues over the last nine years, Adams has played 569 games at first base with 34 appearances in left field and one in right field. That happened in 2017 and 2018. Surely, the Rockies trials of taking a player and putting him in a totally different position are done. The Desmond experiment should be enough to end that.
Maybe the current roster shuffle isn’t done. But this can’t be the answer until Chris Owings returns since that won’t be until sometime in June.
Please just tell me there’s a plan.
★ ★ ★
Who might the Rockies consider as their next GM? And how likely are they to say yes? | The Athletic ($)
Nick Groke breaks down seven possible candidates, noting that Monfort has only hired a GM once and that was when he promoted Bridich at the same moment that Dan O’Dowd stepped down in 2014. The three internal candidates on the list are Zack Rosenthal, who is the assistant general manager of baseball operations, Bill Schmidt, who is the vice president of scouting, and Jon Weil, assistant general manager of player personnel. When it comes to bringing someone from outside the organization, Groke lists these five in decreasing odds of it happening: MLB senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill (“maybe”), Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes (“not impossible”), MLB chief baseball development officer Tony Reagins (longshot), Twins general manager Thad Levine (“No chance, not even close”), and Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch (“not possible”).
This is a very fun list to look over brought to you by Nathaniel Sunshine, who notes that there have been 61 players to be both Rockies and D-Backs in their careers. It’s a good list with the top player being one of my favorites of all time and ones need to find a new version of to bring life to the current clubhouse.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!