The Colorado Rockies offseason was quiet leading into the 2013 season. For a team that went 64-98, it was odd that GM Dan O’Dowd did not make any acquisitions or trades to improve the roster. What’s that, O’Dowd is no longer the acting GM, that role is filled by Assistant GM/director of major league operations Bill Geivett. It has been said “if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback”, you can say the same thing about the two general managers in Denver.
The biggest move of the offseason was the hiring of 1988 Rookie of the Year and head coach of Regis Jesuit High School Walt Weiss to be the Rockies manager. Weiss is a popular Ex-Rockie who, at the very least, should be well received by the fans. As Mike Matheny and Robin Ventura proved in 2012, prior experience is not a prerequisite to be a successful major league manager.
The Rockies traded starting pitcher Alex White to the Astros for reliever Wilton Lopez. White, a first round pick in 2009, started 27 games for the Rockies between 2011 and 2012. His 4-13 record and 6.30 ERA in Colorado will probably not be missed. Lopez has had three straight sub 3.00 ERA years for the Astros, and had a sub 1.10 WHIP in 2010 and 2012. There were some questions about his health, but he could be a valuable setup man for closer Rafael Betancourt.
The lineup returns primarily intact with one upgrade from within. When healthy, Troy Tulowitzki may be the best shortstop in the National League. Tulowitzki underwent groin surgery in June, suffered a setback during rehab and was shut down before returning to action. He appeared in only 47 games in 2012.
His return could open up possibilities for Weiss and whoever is the acting GM. Josh Rutledge had a .274 BA/8 HR/37 RBI stat line in 277 at bats filling in for Tulowitzki. Rutledge could be moved to second or third. Possibly in line for major league action is Nolan Arenado, a line drive hitting third baseman who slugged .428 with 12 homers and 36 doubles for AA Tulsa. He was Baseball America’s #8 rated prospect in the Texas League. Far down the road, 18 year old top pick David Dahl was the Pioneer League MVP and Baseball America’s top rated prospect in that league.
The Rockies offense is not where the club needed help this offseason.The pitching staff had an MLB worst 5.22 ERA and at .274 the highest batting average against in MLB. Relief pitcher Rex Brothers led the team with eight wins. No major additions were made in the offseason to upgrade the starting rotation. Aside from Wilton Lopez, no major additions were made to the pen.
Geivett and/or O’Dowd should have spent some time trying to upgrade their rotation. With no Dylan Bundy or Matt Harvey type pitching prospect to plug in, another summer of Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa type of fun will ensue at Coors Field this summer. With Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin, Michael Cuddyer and Eric Young the Rockies have a surplus of tradeable outfielders to try to obtain a serviceable major league starter.
The Rockies lineup has possibilities and is headlined by talented players like Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and catcher Wilin Rosario. But trying to stick with the Giants and Dodgers while trotting out the worst starting rotation in the National League is going to be a tall order for the Rockies. There is still time to improve the pitching, but the GM’s have not inspired confidence up to this point.