10 Things the Rockies Can Do To Turn Their Season Around
Another ugly loss for the Rockies, to the Kansas City Royals.
This wasn't a close game. It was ugly. It was another ugly in a month long string of ugly.
The Rockies are now 20-22 and four games behind the streaking Dodgers who are tied with the Padres for first place in the NL West.
But, it's worse than what the record or the standings show. The Rockies are falling apart, and they are falling apart in every aspect of baseball.
Here's a list of 10 things the Rockies can do to turn their season around.
10. Fire Dinger and Call Up Sox the Fox
I always blame Dinger. He's a purple dinosaur. He's a relic, not of the Jurassic period, but of the time when kids watched Barney.
Rockies fans have to relive those nightmare years every time we see Dinger. He can't be helping.
Sox the Fox is cool...he's funny...he's athletic. The Rockies like to promote from within, why should the mascot be any different?
9. Wake Up the Players
This team seems to be sleep walking through the season.
My concern isn't over one area, but over the ton of mental mistakes. Like Friday night's base-running out at third or the passed ball.
This season the Rockies have missed cut off guys several times, thrown to the wrong base or booted easy balls, they should have fielded cleanly and easily.
They all seem to be waiting on SOMETHING.
They need to wake up and play sound, fundamental baseball.
8. Release Jason Giambi
I understand that Jason Giambi is a favorite in the club house. I understand that many of the players consider him their batting coach.
That's great, but that doesn't mean Giambi should be taking up a roster spot.
His line is terrible this year:
Giambi has only one homer on the year. Worse, he's 0-9 while pinch hitting on the year.
If he can't pinch hit, what good is he? Giambi can't really play the field any longer and he's not a viable back-up to Helton.
Giambi adds nothing to this team. He is a dead spot on the Roster, and hurts the Rockies bench flexibility.
The Rockies can make him a coach, and in the fall when the rosters expand to 40 players, if the Rockies need him, he can be added to the roster as a player/coach.
7. Fire Hitting Coach Don Baylor
It's time someone takes the fall for the Rockies terrible offensive output.
I fully realize offensive numbers are going to slide as we get further from the time that players were "on the Juice of Life", but the Rockies are not just struggling at the plate, they have been close to laughable and looking like jokes at key times.
The Rockies are ninth in the NL in BA with a team batting average of .259, which isn't that bad, but the Rockies are DEAD LAST in BA after the sixth inning as well as DEAD LAST in runs scored.
Only 5 teams are worse than the Rockies in batting with runners in scoring position in the National League.
One reason I feel it's time to fire Don Baylor, is how many players talk about Jason Giambi, like Giambi is their batting coach.
That means Baylor isn't doing his job. I also think a public firing is a good way to light fires and motivate people in any job or business.
6. Send Esmil Rogers to AAA
I'm a big fan of Esmil Rogers. He's got a great fastball, and on average is in the top 10 in the NL in velocity. Rogers can hit 97-98 with his heater.
But being able to throw hard does not make one a pitcher. He really needs to work on his secondary stuff. He needs to be able to hit spots with his fastball.
He's starting to get shelled in the bigs, and that can't be good for his confidence. Rogers has given up runs in his last 3 appearances which were in relief. He also was hit pretty hard during his 2 starts giving up 5 runs in each of his starts.
He needs to be sent down before the Rockies lose him as a prospect, and before he blows another game.
The Rockies also need to figure out if Rogers is going to be a starter or a reliever in the future.
Right now, Rogers has only 2 pitches in his repertoire, a fastball and a slider, which usually means he's better suited to be a reliever.
5. Dexter Fowler Is Not a Switch-Hitter!
This one to me is pretty obvious. Dexter Fowler is not a natural switch hitter. He's a right handed hitter that started batting from the left side while in the minors.
The reason for switch hitting is that as a lefty you gain 2 steps towards first base, and you take advantage of a batter's speed. This is especially handy when bunting.
The problem with that is, Fowler rarely bunts for hits. When Fowler is batting from the left side it's awkward. Many times he's leading with his wrong hand. He looks like a right handed hitter...on the wrong side, which is exactly what he is!
batting right handed: .333/.469/.487/.957
batting left handed: .179/.281/.274/.555
No one expects Fowler's stats right vs right to be like they are now when he's only batting right vs left handers, but I'd expect his numbers to be much higher than when he's batting from the left side.
Tracy has gone to platooning Fowler, and only playing him against left handed starters. This is wrong. The Rockies need Fowler's defense in the field.
If Fowler only plays against left handed starters, you are limiting a quality young player to about a third of the games. Dex is too valuable for that.
He needs to play, and he needs to bat from his normal side, and that is right handed...all the time, regardless of the pitcher.
4. Trade For A Starting Second Baseman
This one is harder. I don't want to be the fan that says trade for X player. But it's becoming apparent to everyone, that Clint Barmes is a weak link in the line-up.
What hasn't hit people, and what the Rockies don't realize, is Barmes has been terrible on defense as well.
So the argument that Barmes brings great defense, and thus should stay in the line-up, is a myth of long ago.
Barmes has four errors on the season, and if you look at his UZR he's -3.2 this year. His RZR is .761 and his OOZ is 2.
Those are NOT good numbers.
Personally, I thought the answer would be Eric Young Jr., but his leg injury is pretty bad, and he might be out for another month or more. Even with EY2 return, the Rockies seem reluctant to give him starts at second.
I'm not sure who the Rockies could trade for. Teams want two things when trading players: prospects and salary relief.
The Rockies are a little tight in both those areas. Still, I'd like to see Brian Roberts or the very underrated Mike Aviles in a Rockies uni.
Dan Uggla's name always seems to come up when you hear rumors about the Rockies looking at second basemen.
3. Get Healthy
It's no secret the Rockies have been hit hard by injuries this year. Injuries happen in baseball, and I find that to be a weak excuse.
However, I can't deny that losing Huston Street as the Rockies closer has hurt the bullpen, as they've moved almost everyone to spots in the pen that aren't their natural slots.
A healthy Street would go a long way in fixing the bullpen.
A return of a healthy Taylor Buchholz would also help. Before Bucky got hurt, he was one of the top set up guys in the majors. He's coming off Tommy John surgery and should be available in a couple of weeks.
Jorge De La Rosa is one of the best pitchers in the National League and was a strong number two pitcher last year to Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies are missing George of the Rose. They need him to give the Rockies a legitimate one-two punch.
Eric Young's injury shouldn't be over looked either. Would the need for a second baseman be so critical right now, if EY2 was getting some AB's at second?
Additionally, the Rockies have been hit hard this month with a powerful flu bug, that has leveled some players. Rafael Betancourt was especially hit hard. He's lost weight and strength. Diet and exercise, should get him back to full strength soon.
GET WELL EVERYONE! (before it's too late)
2. Fix the Rotation
This one is not easy. It's complicated. A lot of the rotation woes, is because of injuries, but the Rockies rotation should be: Jimenez, De La Rosa, Cook, Francis, and Chacin.
In many ways this is close to the same as #3, get Healthy.
Jason Hammel should NOT be in the rotation for the Rockies. He's been terrible this season. He's given up at least three runs in each of his starts this season, and gave up five to the Royals on Friday night.
Of Hammel's six starts for the Rockies in 2010, they have won only one game. Starting Hammel is almost an automatic loss this year.
A healthy return of Jorge De La Rosa, forces Hammel out of the rotation, or it should. However getting Jason Hammel out of the rotation is easier said then done, but it has to be done.
Hammel, for the record, is out of options so he can't be sent down with out clearing waivers.
Instead of exposing Hammel to waivers when JDLR returns, the Rockies might send down Jhoulys Chacin as he still has options.
When Franklin Morales returns, the Rockies also need to look at stretching him out and making him starter. He has the stuff to be a starter and seems to me to have the mental make up of a reliever.
The Rockies and Morales need to figure out what his future is going to be, and go with it.
1. Trade for Roy Oswalt
Hey, Kizla of the Denver Post has suggested it. Woody Paige also of the Denver Post has suggested it. So, I'll jump on the band wagon with them now that Oswalt has requested that the Astros trade him before the trade dead-line.
I'll have to over look two major obstacles though:
1. The Rockies can't afford to pay Oswalt the $29MM dollars he's owed on his contract through 2011.
2. The Rockies don't have the prospects to give up that would make the Astros pull the trigger on getting rid of their best player.
I'm joining the Denver Post air-heads...the Rockies should get Roy Oswalt! Hey, having Roy Oswalt pitch every 5 days WOULD help the Rockies.
Heck, while we are living in fantasy world, Chase Utley would be a great addition as well!
Oh, oh....can we get Joe Mauer as well? That would be AWESOME!
I also want to be rich, handsome, and date a super-model!