With only a few games left in the season, the Colorado Rockies are headed to their best record under manager Walt Weiss. The only problem is that they are still considerably under .500 this year. But when a bar has been set so low, even modest gains like what we’ve witnessed throughout 2016 are accepted as admirable.
Walt Weiss cannot be blamed for the altitude. He was not the one who created a professional baseball team in a place where pitchers go to cry. However, throughout the season, we’ve seen many coaching choices that have ended up in losses. Whether it be the timing of pitching changes, being overly aggressive in ordering steals, or even deciding who is a best fit at first, Walt has perhaps had the second biggest hand in the cookie jar of failure outside of the bullpen.
The decision to stick primarily with Nick Hundley throughout the season, even after rookie Tony Wolters proved to be more serviceable at the position, shows a certain lack of passion from him, as well. Boston found themselves in a precarious position with the Panda at the start of the season and sidelined him in favor of better talent, making him a very expensive bench warmer. Boston is headed to the playoffs. Walt seems to think that the status quo behind the plate is acceptable and refuses to make the necessary decisions that winning ball clubs go through every day.
I believe that GM Jeff Bridich is a moron. But I don’t think he’s a complete moron. Like Atlanta this season, the Rockies went with a significantly more youthful roster. The difference was the end result. Shortstop Trevor Story had a record-breaking season. Tony Wolters is a versatile backstop whose bat is quickly coming along, having significantly improved since the All Star Break. Others such as outfielder David Dahl and pitcher Jon Gray took great strides and look poised to produce even more in the next season. All of the new talent emerging in the organization lifted the Rockies to, potentially, their best record under Walt Weiss.
However, as third baseman Nolan Arenado so clearly articulated, the Rockies have underperformed this season. Sure, the preseason predictions had the Rockies as one of the worst clubs in baseball and the moderate success enjoyed by the club this season was a surprise for most. But the team hit the .500 mark as late as August and were even playoff contenders, albeit long shots. Pitcher Tyler Chatwood set a franchise record for lowest road ERA with 1.69 Only Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Jake Arietta have produced better road records during the Wild Card era, according to Purple Dinosaur Podcast. Had the offseason acquisitions Chad Qualls, Jason Motte, and Jake McGee held their end of the bargain, or if Trevor hadn’t injured his hand, it’d be a different Story.
Obviously, pitching is never going to be the strength of the Rockies due to the thin air they play in. But with enough balance between pitching and the hot bats we see from players such as Nolan Arenado and outfielder Carlos Gonzales, a winning season is not impossible. See 2007’s season, where the Rockies clinched a Wild Card birth with a .552 WP and the only World Series appearance in franchise history. Somehow, the Rockies must find their way back to the energy that ball club had. Walt Weiss seems to enjoy being lackluster.
So, to those who read my garbage, I implore you to tell Bridich to can Walt Weiss and hand pick a better suitor that shares his vision. Walt needs a nap.
For your enjoyment, I’ve included a clip of Walt Weiss being ejected, where you can clearly hear him say “horse shit”.