The Colorado Rockies are completing their worst ever season. And, despite the fact that Jim Tracy is under contract for 2013, his job is on the line. But not based on what goes down on the field. Rather, what’s said in a meeting:
A meeting this weekend in Denver between Bill Geivett, the Rockies’ director of major-league operations, and manager Jim Tracy will go a long way in determining not only whether Tracy returns, but the coaching staff and the club’s direction. Rockies owner Dick Monfort said Sunday that no decision has been made on Tracy’s future. He pointed to Geivett’s discussion with Tracy this weekend as the important factor.
Geivett: Jim. we’re thinking we need to win more baseball games. You agree?
Tracy: I dunno, Bill. That’s one way to look at it, but I was thinking we should try to lose 97 or more games again. Kinda feels right.
Geivett: Hmm. I see. Well, good meeting, Jim. We’ll let you know what we decide later.
Well, obviously I have no idea what goes on in those kinds of meetings. I do sorta feel like whatever Tracy has to say doesn’t matter, though. Geivett was elevated to his current role in August when Dan O’Dowd was stripped of some of his GM powers, and O’Dowd was Tracy’s major backer, giving him a contract extension last winter.
So maybe the meeting will be more like this:
Geivett: What is it exactly you do around here, Jim?
Tracy: Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.