Robert Whitmer’s 5-Point Plan to Fix the Colorado Rockies

Wednesday November 7th, 2012

Robert Whitmer:  Attitude is everything. When we talk about ways to fix a franchise by taking them from a non-playoff team to a playoff team, attitude is everything. I recently saw a movie that reminded me of something I had forgotten from long ago. The United States Marine Corps have a belief that when you are on the battlefield, your only concern is making sure that the man next to you gets home safe. By doing this, in theory, nobody would get left behind and nobody would be able to be ambushed. Taking this concept and applying it to the Colorado Rockies is the concept that they need to bring in to the organization. The following 5 steps will help install this concept- from the front office, all the way down to the third string bat boy.

1. Signing free agents.

The Rockies don’t necessarily have a hole at first base but they have a guy in Todd Helton that isn’t getting any younger. He is 39 and pushing 40. He can’t really be a viable first base option for much longer. It’s time for them to look younger. Casey Kotchman would be a good person that could spell Helton at times in the late innings or an off day every so often. The other upgrade is in the outfield. One high quality outfielder to pair with Fowler and Gonzalez would be very advantageous for them. BJ Upton would be a great fit with the Rockies and that thin air. If a sign and trade is what needs to be done, then Colvin and LeMahieu for Upton would be good with the Rockies picking up Kelly Johnson or Freddy Sanchez in free agency.

2. Release Jason Giambi.

I know technically it’s not releasing him, but they don’t need to re-sign him. He is going to do nothing but take up cap room that the Rockies can use to bolster their minor league system to ensure the future of their franchise to be secure. I am a firm believer that you must a strong farm system to make sure that you have a place to lay the groundwork for success. The other thing that a strong minor league system can do for an organization like the Rockies is foster competition. If you have the AAA guys playing well and ready to take the MLB job, the big leaguers, if they are worth anything, will step their game up to keep from losing their spot. Players playing better usually means a higher number in the win column.

3. Management change is needed.

The writers here at the reports believe that Matt Williams would make a great manager for the Rockies, and I agree 100%. He was a no-nonsense player who didn’t take any bull. I see him being the same type of manager. They should also bring Larry Walker back as the hitting coach. If there are two things that Larry Walker knows its how to hit a baseball and Coors Field. Walker had one of the sweetest swings (probably second behind Griffey Jr.), and he would be able to teach the young players and help them modify their approach to the plate and make them successful. The other hole they have is the third base coach. They need someone here who knows how to run the bases. Eric Young Sr. would be great here. He was a base coach for the Diamondbacks for the last two years and was recently let go. Young would be a good choice because he knows how to run the bases at Coors Field. He is the all-time stolen base leader for the Rockies even though he hasn’t played for them in 15 years.

4. Attitude is everything.

Having recently talked to a die-hard Rockies fan, he feels that some type of change must happen in the front office, and I couldn’t agree more. It starts at the top. The managers must see that the front office is willing to do what it takes to make the turn I mm.the right direction before they will start to believe. The best ways they can do this is two ways. First, they need to talk to the manager first to get his opinion on the players that he feels he can manage the best. Second, they need to show that they have faith in the people they hire to manage the team and at least keep them employed for two seasons. This will give them a chance to show the team that their way works, then get them playing that way.

5. Pitching and defense wins championships.

Coors Field almost necessitates a ground ball pitcher. For that reason, the Rockies should look at Derek Lowe as a 4th or 5th starter. He has a sinkerball and a very heavy changeup. Signing Jason Marquis would give you a quality 5th starter to go along with the resigning of Sanchez, Francis, and De La Rosa gives you a solid starting five. Then signing a bullpen pitcher the mold of Ramon Ramirez is going to be key. He is the type that can go 3-4 innings of long relief or make a spot start if needed.

Again, I’m not saying that this a perfect model of what they should do, but this is what I think will work. Getting the right mix of players that are willing to do what it takes and, if necessary, put their life out there for the team. Obviously I am not speaking of losing their life, but just doing whatever is necessary to win. Ad I mentioned before, they must be willing to be like the Marines and not be worried about themselves and their stats, but being worried about the man next to them and helping them succeed. It’s all about attitude.

 (*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of*)

***Today’s feature was prepared by Robert Whitmer, MLB reports Baseball Writer. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Robert on Twitter (@rwhitmer)***

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Posted on November 7, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Have you looked at Derek Lowe’s career numbers at Coors? 11 GS, 61.2 IP, 5.55 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 34/26 (1.31) K/BB ratio, 5.0 K/9. This is NOT the type of pitcher the Rockies need to invest one penny in signing. Marquis has had slightly “better” numbers at Coors than Lowe but is not the direction the Rockies should be going.

    The Rockies need to be looking at the type of pitchers who’ve had success at Coors and actually dig deeply into the numbers before signing anyone while developing young pitchers at the AAA level where their affiliate in Colorado Springs actually plays at a HIGHER elevation that in Denver.

    It’s also time for Todd Helton to take on the Giambi role of being the mentor to young players like Colvin. The future success of this Rockies team has to be with the youth. It is time to ship Cuddyer out for some prospects and also some salary relief unless this team is prepared to make a serious run at the playoffs in 2013 (which I believe they are not).

    Lastly, BJ Upton may hit home runs and steal bases but he is a career .255 hitter who hasn’t hit better than .250 since 2008 (.273) and whose OBP struggles to get north of .330. Again, this is not the type of player the Rockies need to invest big dollars into on the free agent market. They’d be better off making a run at BJ’s brother Justin if he were to be made available (again).

    It may take a few years to right the wrongs of this franchise but they need to develop a plan and stick to it as they did leading up to their magical 2007 season and again in 2009.

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