BY DAVID MARTIN
Jim Tracy is a terrible manager. He changes the lineup almost daily, he makes excuses, and he handles a bullpen about as bad as anyone in the game. However, the Colorado Rockies front office is currently hanging him out to dry.
In a season full of new phrases made up by the Rockies, terms such as “piggy-back reliever,” and others that defy conventional baseball wisdom, the Rockies have once again gone outside the realm of logic. Something that should never be heard in the month of September is a phrase about being short on the bench.
Several times in the past few weeks, Tracy has found himself in a situation where he has to have a relief pitcher hit for himself in the 5th or 6th inning because the bench is full of players who are hurting. Carlos Gonzalez is out, Jason Giambi is out, Dexter Fowler is out, and as of Saturday, Tyler Colvin is hurt as well.
The Rockies went into Saturday night’s game with the Dodgers only having one available position player on the bench. That is simply unacceptable. It is unacceptable in April through August, and it is downright embarrassing in September.
On September 1st, the rosters expand to 40 players, meaning all of the younger players who are in the minor leagues all season, but are on the 40-man roster are eligible to get a taste of the big leagues in the final month of the season. Most teams don’t call up every player on that roster, but they will specifically allow certain players who have a shot to make the 25-man roster the next season, or a veteran who worked hard in the minors to get some big league time and prove that he belongs.
The Rockies made a few call-ups. Andrew Brown and Matt McBride returned to the roster, and Rob Scahill made his big league debut on the mound. A few moves are typical. The issue is that with the injuries that the Rockies have been dealing with this late in the season, why on earth would the front office not equip the team with a few extra players, if for no other reason than to simply get through the season.
Of course, the issue for the Rockies is that if they bring up some of their prospects, they are starting their arbitration clock, making them have more service time and potentially taking a year away from what the club can control. That makes sense. However, with the team nearing 100 losses, it isn’t as if the team needs to showcase guys like Nolan Arenado. This team needs to bring up guys like Tommy Field, who has been in the big leagues before and, with all due respect to Field, isn’t considered a guy who is going to have a huge impact in his future. Field ended the season hurt, so he can’t make that jump, but someone in a similar position.
The issue might be that the team’s 40-man roster is full and they would have to add someone in order to make it happen. However, that logic quickly gets shot down when the realization that there are three members of the 40-man roster that are on the 60-day disabled list, meaning they can be replaced on that roster until the end of the season.
Would it be that difficult to bring up a player like Brandon Wood, who didn’t have a great year in Colorado Springs, but has Major League experience and can play nearly any position? How about Charlie Culberson, who the Rockies got from the Giants in the Marco Scutaro trade?
The reality is, the Rockies are asleep at the wheel. This season is lost, so they simply quit. That is something that should never been said of a professional franchise. However, there is simply no other way to say it. There is no solid explanation for why this team could have several more players on their bench, even if they are mediocre players. This isn’t about winning baseball games, it’s about not looking foolish in a month where there could be so many players that they don’t all fit in the dugout.
As much criticism as Jim Tracy has received for his unconventional management, the Rockies are doing him a disservice at this point by not giving him anything to work with. It is simply unacceptable.