Another major disappointment last year, the Colorado Rockies backed up their 2007 World Series appearance with a 74-88 record in 2008.
What I saw was overachieving down the stretch in 2007 and lots of bandwagoning going on in 2008. Then Rockies’ managements delivers the critical blow to 2009’s season.
Matt Holiday, the centerpiece of the Rockies offense (747 runs last year) was shipped off as the Rox knew they needed to get something rather than risk losing him to free agency after 2009. What they got in return was some young (mostly) unrealized talent.
The Rockies projected opening day starter, Aaron Cook is currently third all-time in wins for the Rockies with 52 and needs just 7 to become the franchise leader (so long as he wins more than Jeff Francis, 51, does). Can you name which two former Rockies have more wins for the franchise.
The Rockies aren’t the Padres or the Mariners. By that I mean they are willing to make moves to get better now, while still preparing for the future. Adding Huston Street and Alan Embree to the bullpen should help overcome the loss of closer Brian Fuentes. The Rox did up their rotation some as well, with innings eater Jason Marquis and youngster Greg Smith. As an overall, the pitching should be slightly improved.
Dealing away Holliday may not cripple the offense, but it’s not like Todd Helton is Benjamin Button. He’s still getting older, while Garret Atkins, Ryan Spilborghs and Clint Barmes are still virtual gambles as impact players. I don’t see any scenario where Carlos Gonzalez and Matt Murton (the two offensive pieces of the Holliday deal) make up the offense they lost.
Jason Jennings pitched for the Rockies from 2001-2006 and accumulated 58 wins; while Pedro Astacio spent 1997-2001 in Colorado racking up 53.
Somebody else will be dealt before the deadline this season. It won’t be Troy Tulowitzki, but don’t be shocked if Atkins is sent packing even after getting an extension, especially if the Rox struggle out of the gates.
The Rockies have NOT improved their team to the point they win more games and get back into contention. Rather they brought in pieces that will keep the team in a virtual stalemate for at least one more season while they hope the economy recovers to afford them an opportunity at bringing in other names for 2010.
4th Place NL WEST, 71-91.
Team 3 for 2009, the Padres.
It hasn’t been that long since the Padres playoff hopes were dashed by a 90 yard sprint:
What happened since? Eleven of the team’s 12 free agents for 2008 left, including Mike Cameron, Milton Bradley and Marcus Giles, helping to prompt a 63-99 2008 season. During that excruciating marathon, the team parted with Greg Maddux, Tad Iguchi, Tony Clark, and several other key veteran pieces.
Then came the bombshell:
2009 marks the first season since August 1993 that Hoffman won’t be wearing a Padres uniform. Instead, “Hells Bells” will be chiming in Milwaukee.
The Good News
Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young are still fan favorites and still on the Padres roster. So too is ace Jake Peavy……….for now.
The Bad News
Peavy is as good as gone. If he makes it to the All-Star Break, Padres fans should consider themselves lucky. Understanding the team is making no effort to contend in 2009, making a Randy Johnson-esque trade (Mariners to Houston) with Peavy would be a huge plus for the future of the club. There isn’t enough talent here to compete even in a weak NL West and the prospect cupboards aren’t exactly stocked up.
Blaming ownership for not spending cash, even in the harsh times of the 2008/09 recession would be easy, if it weren’t for owner John Moores’ financial woes stemming from his divorce. The potential positive here is getting the club sold to Jeff Moorad, who has helped rebuild the Diamondbacks and was a stern player agent for years.
For the die-hards, 2009 may be the toughest season in years, as the team struggles to find a personality. Knowing most of these players won’t be part of the franchise’s next winning club could be a positive if you’re willing to push your hopes far enough into the future.
The Padres are going to suck. 63 wins is optimistic. Depending on how early Peavy is dealt, the Padres are very much in line to contend for a 50 win season.
57-105; Worst Record in Baseball.