Worst Month in Franchise History

So much can be said about the  2019 Rockies that I could write a book about it.  The two key takeaways from the 2019 performance are no significant transaction was done at trade deadline and having the worst calendar month in franchise history.  In the month of July, the Rockies went from serious contention for the wild card birth to just a couple of games away from having the 14th worst record in the NL.  The only transaction made was giving up Alfredo Garcia to the Yankees for Joe Harvey, a RH relief pitcher who was sent to Albuquerque.

The collapse can be traced to the day (6/14/2019) Horseshit (my name for bullpen) gave up six runs in the ninth inning to allow the Padres to tie it up and then win the game with five more in the 12th inning.  Horseshit was magnified multiple times but Jeff Bridich and BB refused to accept that Horseshit was really that bad and chalked it up to one bad day.  Lesson learned:  do not tie up relief arms for more than a year or two in big chunks of money.  Mike Dunn, Jake McGee, Brian Shaw, and Wade Davis were locked up for three more years.  Another angle to the problem was that they held on to failing arms for far too long.  Seunghwan Oh should have been let go as soon as April.  Remember Jason Motte?  Didn’t they learn their lesson?  Chettis has to be let go as well, the league has figured him out as a reliever as of late.  Let the young people get their feet wet and see how it goes.  Do you prefer seeing young arms messing up and learning (Sam Howard, Jesus Tinoco, Yency Almonte, Ben Bowden comes to mind) or see guaranteed failures from Horseshit? Certainly Scott Oberg is the exception, but come on we need eight arms not one.  I like Jairo Diaz and Carlos Estevez and they still have to learn how to pitch.  They have been overworked a little bit because the SPs aren’t going deep often enough.  Personally I place some of the blame on Chris Ianetta because I believe he calls for too many FBs when the hitters sit on them.  Not only that, it’s the year of pitching backwards.  The fastball counts in certain situations are no longer expected.  The pitchers around the league has figured out how to throw secondary pitches for strikes in fastball counts.  The Rockies still haven’t figured that out yet.  They are behind my “coaching” skills even though I’m only an armchair manager.

The rotation has had their own issues as well, and they are starting to find some traction sans Kyle Freeland.  German Marquez, Jon Gray, and Peter Lambert are pitching as well as can be expected in the big picture.  I think we need to let Chi Chi Gonzalez pitch every five day to work out the “rust”.  I don’t think  Freeland will ever pitch like he did in 2018 unless he learns to pitch like Zack Greinke and MadBum, both of whom throw in the low 90s or high 80s.  I really think we need to push Ryan Rolison a little faster up the pipeline if Ryan Castellani isn’t good enough for The Show.

On the other side of the baseball, the front office needs to learn how to construct the lineup better.  The biggest threat is the fact we have the “Big Four” who are performing well and then the supporting cast are worse than average.  That means two innings of nearly automatic outs and one inning of top four producing only if they are having a good day (.333 BA means you can hit only once every three ABs right?).  It’s very aggravating to me that the hitters continue swinging into extreme shifts when a simple bunt was a given for a base hit.  LEARN.HOW.TO.BUNT.  Pass the baton to the next hitter.

Ag and sdcarp have been in a lengthy discussion on the previous post on what we can do or what we didn’t do.  It’s easy to do that in hindsight, but it’s been going on for two or three years and nothing has been learned by the front office.  The RWOers are better armchair managers and coaches than the front office will ever be.  Maybe we are still feeling the impact of the loss of Kelli McGregor?

I’d like to take an informal poll while I’m writing this post.  jeem probably will be out for a while which leaves me as the sole writer of the RWO posts.  I know I’ve asked RWOers for volunteers to write posts in the past, but it’s apparent that they prefer writing comments than writing a long post.  I’m a follower of “Colorado Rockies Forum” group on Facebook.  Should I post something about coming over and reading RWO in an effort to drive a little more traffic to here?  And I will also ask if anyone would be interested in writing a post weekly.  I’d say about 60% are smart and respectful fans while the other 40% might be a little full of hot air.  So that’s a risk I would like if I bring up RWO on their FB page.  What do you think?

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roxnsox
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roxnsox

You’d think they’re cursed at this point, with the pitchers dropping like flies on top of all the rest

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Best baseball article I’ve read this year:

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-astros-may-have-salvaged-another-pitchers-career/

This is what we’re up against. Rays, A’s, Astros, Dodgers, Yankees…………elite Front Offices. The Dodgers now employee of 50 in their analytics department. To compete, we have to be cutting edge. Given that we play 81 games at 5280, we need to be every bit as innovative as the A’s and Rays.

We’re not remotely close.

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Good point, Carp. The article doesn’t mention another Astros pitching success story – Collin McHugh, who was a Rockie for about a month and a half before the Astros picked him up. Same reason: “elite spin rate.” They knew what to do with it; we didn’t. We are also stuck in the old idea of hitting/pitching coaches, whereas the more creative teams are going in a whole different direction, focusing on things like launch angles, etc., rather than the old… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Another problem we have to overcome, the Padres, Dodgers, and DBacks have top 5 Farm Systems:

https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-farm-system-rankings-2019?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

The D-Backs have been (relatively) quietly doing some very shrewd maneuvering for the future.

roxnsox
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roxnsox

I’m leery of opening up our cozy corner to the big bad world of Facebook. We never have hot air (or worse)! Would be nice to have more participants, though.

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Remember when we were saying Bryan Shaw was having a comeback season? Remember when I said it was all smoke an mirrors and situational luck? Umm, his ERA just hit a very Rockies-bullpenlike 5.37. Purplerow just pointed out a disturbing fact about Shaw’s contract: we’re stuck with his 2020 salary, but if he pitches in a certain number of games over 2019-20, a player option vests for 2021. Holy crap, Batman! DFA that guy immediately!! Stop Bud Black from making… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

The Rockies slide isn’t all bad:

I’ve noted a few times I’m a long time Fantasy Baseball player in an established (23 years now), deep, competitive League. One thing I know….when the Rockies are bad, and on the road, go with the opposing pitcher. I picked up Cal Quantrill last week with this in mind, and it worked like a champ! Go Rockies!

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Rockies DFA’ing Iannetta. Dom Nunez called up. That’ll fix it!
Strikes me as kind of a jerk move. Maybe someone’s pissed at Iannetta. Rosters expand in what, 18 days? You could have them both on the roster on September 1.

Bob K
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Bob K

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/08/rockies-preparing-to-replace-chris-iannetta-with-dom-nunez.html

Nunez is hitting .244 in the PCL. That is not going to translate well in a change to the MLB level.

roxnsox
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roxnsox

He does have 17 homers, I just heard the TV crew say

roxnsox
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roxnsox

Ag, I first thought “well, great. The bosses are finally going to start looking at the minor leaguers.” I hadn’t thought about your good point re: expanded rosters. However, they don’t need 3 catchers. And Chris, sadly for all he has done over the years, is clearly finished. I’ll always remember his monster homers and steady demeanor.

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Things that make you laugh (in a sad, our FO sucks, sort of way): Ianetta done, Nunez coming up. It’s about time. Meanwhile, our old friend Tom Murphy hit 2 HRs last night, I believe he’s top to 14 for the year with a really solid 273 BA. Think about this: Murphy instead of Ianetta. Tauchmann instead of Desmond. The money saved on those two moves alone allows for resigning DJ and Otto. Sign Josh Donaldson (3.7 WAR at the… Read more »

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Right, Carp. Horrible free agent/roster management continues to haunt us. 1. We had a chance to get Grandal or Realmuto to finally fix the catcher position. Guess which two catchers have the highest WAR in baseball now (3.6 and 4.0 respectively). Sometimes you get what you pay for. 2. Tom Murphy: 1.8. Wolters: -0.1. Iannetta: -0.6. Why would you ever give up on a prospect when the only guys “blocking” him are these two? 3. We should be moving on… Read more »

Bob K
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Bob K

“2. Tom Murphy: 1.8. Wolters: -0.1. Iannetta: -0.6. ” From Baseball-reference: – 2019 Tom Murphy – WAR – 1.5 – BA – .273 – Runs – 19 – RBI – 27 – OBP – .304 Tony Wolters – WAR – 1.1 – BA -.286 – Runs – 30 – RBI – 30 – OBP – .349 Chris Iannetta – WAR – -0.4 – BA – .222 Runs – 20 – RBI – 21 – OBP – .311 Wolters has always… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Bob – the “basic” WAR formula for offensive players is: WAR = (Batting Runs + Base Running Runs +Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment + League Adjustment +Replacement Runs) / (Runs Per Win) Park adjusted factors are used – is that what you’re referencing? They do change year-to-year (Coors is tracking to break the all-time R Park Adjustment factor this year). The PAF is applied to all teams. It works both ways. No Rockies player’s discrimination. I’ll will jump up and… Read more »

Bob K
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Bob K

“(Coors is tracking to break the all-time R Park Adjustment factor this year)” This has far more to do with how badly the Rockies have pitched this year than it has to do with it being Coors Field. Of course the new baseball isn’t helping things. “The PAF is applied to all teams. It works both ways. No Rockies player’s discrimination.” The fact that PAF is a biased figure based on poor assumptions, it does adversely affect the Rockies hitters… Read more »

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Carp, I like that Rockies formula! As far as Park Factors go: Coors has played a little less extreme as summer goes on. Still, it’s at 1.49. Next? The Rangers park at 1.16. These are still historically high numbers. And Bob K., that’s not just based on Rockies hitters; it’s based on runs scored overall, Rockes + opponents. It’s just tough to keep a pitching staff fresh and to win in a hitting environment that extreme, and Rockies teams historically… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

1.49 is still brutally, record breaking high (you’re correct – at one point earlier this summer, I saw 1.66!). I think a “normal” high year is 1.28/1.29………..with a Pitchers Park being maybe 0.80.

Bob K
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Bob K

“And Bob K., that’s not just based on Rockies hitters; it’s based on runs scored overall,” That is what I am getting at, the Rockies pitchers have been atrocious this year. How poorly the Rockies are pitching is penalizing all the Rockies hitters because of the formulas that are used. I don’t love Wolters but I don’t like it when someone is doing a good job and does not get credit for it. Your claim that Wolters has a -0.1… Read more »

Agbayani
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Agbayani

I think we have to agree to disagree on Wolters being a starting quality catcher. It’s kind of hard to have only 1 HR in mid-August when you play half your games at Coors. The days of being able to carry a defense-first catcher as a starter who puts up an empty .285 BA in the greatest hitter’s park in the history of baseball are kind of over. We do agree on this: the Rockies have far bigger problems .… Read more »

Agbayani
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Agbayani

At the risk of flogging a dead horse: There are 300 major league players with 200+ plate appearances this year. Isolate Power (ISO) is a stat that strips away singles; it’s basically Slugging Percentage – Batting Average. Wolters ranks 293rd in baseball out of those 300. I don’t even know how this can happen when you play at Coors. Wolters’ ISO is .076. The guys behind him are catchers at playing at far poorer hitters’ parks and Billy Hamilton and… Read more »

Bob K
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Bob K

When a person with more home runs, Tom Murphy – 17 has fewer runs scored – 19 and fewer rbis – 27, and OBP – .309 plus 7 BBs to Wolters – 1 home run, 34 runs scored, 30 rbis and .350 OBP and 21 walks, it tells me that home runs are not necessarily that good of an indicator of value. Your claim that Coors Field is the greatest hitting park is based on faulty formulas that don’t take… Read more »

Bob K
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Bob K

Runs for Tony Wolters was supposed to be 34.

roxnsox
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roxnsox

Carp, you are killing me here with your…common-sense winning scenario. Argh!!

I DID actually see Bridich quoted as saying “I own this.” It doesn’t help anything, but just correcting my comment that a GM never does/says that.

Bob K
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Bob K

In answer to Ag”s question about how Wolters is doing compared to the other Rockies catchers, Drew Gooden announced early during tonight’s game that the Rockies are 40-38 when Wolters starts the game. With tonight’s win over the Marlins, the record when Wolters starts a game is now 41-38. Overall the Rockies are 55-67 which means that their record when any other catcher starts the game is a combined 14-29.

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Thanks, Bob K! Hey, I’ll grant you this — the W/L record with Wolters catching (instead of one of the others) is getting interesting. Mostly these things are small sample size quirks, but this one seems to be lasting. I can’t find any site that still provides “Catcher’s ERA” (CERA), but that would be a good one to look at too. One thing that’s getting factored in now is the so-called “pitch framing” stats. According to fangraphs he was pretty… Read more »

Bob K
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Bob K

Yes, the Wolters” winning percentage being better than any other Rockies catcher has been an ongoing thing ever since the Rockies first got him. His first year with the Rockies was his best results for pitch framing. I believe that the analysts constantly saying “He stole that strike.” adversely affects the pitch framing results. If you think the umpires never hear those comments and that it does not affect how they respond to different catchers, you are wrong. Umpires are… Read more »

sdcarp
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sdcarp

Another Ex-Rockie doing really well:

Tommy Kahnle. Since 2017 – (+2.0) WAR and +/- 3M salary (that’s total salary – 2017+2018+2019)

Check out our FO choices since 2017:

Jake McGee – (+1.4) WAR and 21M total salary.
Mike Dunn – (-0.1) WAR and 18M total salary.
Bryan Shaw – (+0.2) WAR and 21M salary (2017 with Indians)
Wade Davis – (+3.1) WAR (1.9 WAR with CC in 2017) and 44M total salary.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Bob K
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Bob K

If the Rockies had held onto Kahnle, he would have earned much more money and the Rockies would likely have ruined him. Can you remember who they got when they traded him away? Ah, they got Yency Almonte in return whose value is yet to be determined.

Kahnle spent a lot of back and forth time with the Yankees. I believe that they DFAed him at least twice last year.

sdcarp
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sdcarp

“If the Rockies had held onto Kahnle, he would have earned much more money and the Rockies would likely have ruined him.”

Hard to argue with this….in a nutshell, it sums up the Rockies FO problems.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Politics!! MLB is forbidding players from participating in Venezuelan Winter Ball.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/08/mlb-venezuela-ban-prohibit-players-winter-league-baseball.html

sdcarp
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sdcarp

I’m all about reaching out to your FB group RMH. Go for it.

Loving watching Mike Tauchmann being a big contributor for the Yankees…..as the Rockies have the worst bench in baseball. Go figure.

Agbayani
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Agbayani

Well said, RMH. For various reasons, I don’t do Facebook, but I’m all for using it to drive some more traffic here. Thanks for keeping the site going, and excellent post. RMH, you want Chi Chi out there. I guess I’m ok with that. But I’m more interested in seeing Almonte, Tinoco, Hoffman, whatever other still-young arms we have out there get a long look these final two months of playing out the string rather than a guy who promises… Read more »

roxnsox
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roxnsox

Yuli Gurriel: the new Rockies killer (I had already called him that in my mind after the Astros visited Denver, but holy crap!), joining the likes of Pedro Feliz and Chipper Jones. Others too, I’m sure, but no names come to mind…

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Pedro Feliz! Good memory. I think his career lasted a couple extra years just on those stats he built up against the Rockes. Dodger James Loney was one of those Rockie killers too.

Bob K
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Bob K

You could come up with a long list if you want to list all the Rockies killers.

roxnsox
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roxnsox

Help us remember more, Bob! Since we’re in dark times, might as well. And now I again wonder if these are the darkest (partly due to happy expectations for the season. Except for carp, who stated awhile back that the season was over before it started…)

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Until recently, Buster Posey. How many games in a row did Giancarlo Stanton hit homers at Coors? Goldschmidt also did very well against the Rockies until recently.

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Nice work, Bob K. Those guys are all fantastic players, but I know there’s more of the Pedro Feliz type out there too. We might also mention the mediocre soft-tossing 4th starter types who seemed to own the Rox hitters. Wade Miley? I also seem to remember the washed up late career Barry Zito still somehow giving Rockies hitters fits.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Best opposing hitter against the Rockies:

Mark McGwire, next matt Stairs .380 avg and .770 slugging. Others were Barry Bonds, Miguel Cabrera, Ken Griffey Jr. and even Sean Berry.

http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/77104490

roxnsox
Guest
roxnsox

Oh man! James Loney!

sdcarp
Guest
sdcarp

Loney is the quintessential Rockie Killer in my mind. A pedestrian player who became a superstar when he entered Coors.

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

I recall when Loney was a free agent I wanted the Rockies to sign him just to see what he could do playing 81 games here. Was it Coors Field, or was it Rockies pitching? I never found out.

roxnsox
Guest
roxnsox

Time for the Dead Season Bets on Final Record! Can they go 17-26 in 43 games, to reach 70 wins? Questionable. I’m going final of 68-94.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Oberg to the IL because of a blood clot. DJ Johnson called up.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/08/rockies-place-scott-oberg-on-il-recall-dj-johnson.html

Davis back to his old ways as he tries to lose today’s game. Estevez wasn’t much better as he allowed both inherited runners to score. I wonder who will get the next chance as closer?

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Oberg: somehow I’d forgotten he had the same unusual issue a couple years ago. Scary. Let’s hope he gets this resolved. Shame that it causes him to shut a really fine (and overlooked) season early. Rox bullpen: RMH, you got it. ENOUGH of the Shaw-Davis-McGee 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As purplerow keeps pointing out, Shaw is now — utterly inexplicable — just 4 appearances this year away from vesting his 2021 contract, meaning we’re stuck with him for next… Read more »

roxnsox
Guest
roxnsox

Dangerously close to “keeping” Shaw. After last night? Will they locate some sense? Don’t bet on it. Saunders is beating the same drum as the rest of you sharp guys on this, but none of us get to be in the FO.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Rockies claim RHP Wes Parsons from Atlanta. Oberg moved to 60 day IL to make 40man roster room for Parsons.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/08/rockies-claim-wes-parsons.html

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Nice piece on German Marquez in The best young pitchers of 2019.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/08/the-best-young-starters-of-2019.html

sdcarp
Guest
sdcarp

Tom Murphy is figuring out the baseball thing. Last 28 days:

43 ABs, 372 BA, 400 OBP, 604 SLG, 6 HRs.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K
sdcarp
Guest
sdcarp

Gray to 60 day IL with stress fracture in foot.

The season was over on Opening Day after the 2018 trade deadline and 2018/2019 offseason fiasco’s. But it’s now 100% officially dead.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/08/jon-gray-suffers-season-ending-foot-fracture.html

Who the h*** is Tim Melville and how did he pitch so well today?

Agbayani
Member
Agbayani

Let us now praise the perfectly acceptable season Jon Gray has had as a Rockies starting pitcher. No, he’s never become the true ace we’d hoped for. But check out the ERA+ (normalized for park) of 139 (100 is average). 150 pretty damn solid innings. I’ll take it … next year I guess.

sdcarp
Guest
sdcarp

Totally agree. There have been a few bright spots this season, and Gray is certainly one of them.

sdcarp
Guest
sdcarp

There are those (Bob K comes to mind immediately) that know much more about “procedure” than I, so please help out here: It seems to me now is a perfect time to DFA Wade Davis. I think a playoff contender would take a chance on him. Hypothetically…..he’s DFA’d, a contending team claims him, and the Rox work an agreement for claiming team to take half his 2020 salary. That essentially frees up nearly 10M (isn’t Davis owed nearly 20M in… Read more »

roxnsox
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roxnsox

I get that his home/road numbers are extravagantly different, but he might have scared everybody off – to quote the old nursery rhyme “when he is bad, he is horrid.” Do we add him to the Ruined by Coors Field list that Ag (I think) had going earlier? I guess we’ll know in a year or two, no matter where he pitches.

sdcarp
Guest
sdcarp

r-n-s – I’m a “no” vote for ruined by Coors Field. Here’s why: Davis transitioned from SPer wannabe to RP in 2014. He was filthy ridiculous as an early “hybrid” RP in 2014 (think Josh Hader before Josh Hader). Something like 70 IP, ERA of 1.00, microscopic WHIP. More of the same in 2015 – big reason why the Royals won the W-S. Another almost 70 IP with ridiculously good peripherals. By 2016 he was a pure Closer. Still really… Read more »

Bob K
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Bob K

I agree that Davis was already damaged goods before the Rockies signed him. It did not help that they rushed him back from his oblique injury. The other problem was the lack of save opportunities before he was injured. The Rockies just have not had the amount of save opportunities this year to keep a closer in shape. Time and time again there have been disastrous results for teams when using a closer in a non save situation.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Because of the new rules not allowing any trades after July 31, I do not believe that the Rockies would be able to negotiate any salary relief in a waiver claim. I suspect that would be considered a trade. I could very well be wrong. What I believe is that a team claiming Davis off of waivers would be required to take on his whole salary making it unlikely that any team would claim him. The most likely scenario if… Read more »

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

There are no revocable waivers now so any players that are put on waivers will either be claimed or they will pass through waivers. Other than an attempt to prevent some other team from making the claim, there is very little incentive for a team to make a waiver claim on a high salary player. All they have to do is wait for the player to clear waivers and sign them as a free agent.

roxnsox
Guest
roxnsox

Can’t anybody here pitch? (Paraphrasing Stengel) (To be fair, German can usually pitch really well)

–Writing in the first inning Friday night, 2 runs yielded by Lambert, and on a home run of course.