Rockies Aim For Consistency in 2016
Hope springs eternal! Every season, despite what you read in the paper or hear on 104.3 The Fan, Rockies fans pick themselves up out of the gutter from last season when their team finished poorly and try to believe “things can get better.” Will this be the year the Rockies contend for a title? Probably not. Could they finish first in the NL West? Doesn’t seem likely. Will the Rockies at least be in contention for a wild card spot in August? Surely THAT is the goal, right? The Rockies don’t want to talk about wins/losses. They want to talk about the process of becoming a competitive team. It’s fair, considering where they have finished in the past five seasons, to be skeptical any time this organization tries to skew things in a such a way to distract from their struggles. That said, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich was on with Schlereth and Evans this morning and seemed as transparent as we’ve heard from the organization in a while. He didn’t overtly seem to be hiding anything as he spoke in a very direct and matter-of-fact fashion.
“We share in that frustration,” Bridich told the guys this morning in his message to the fans. “It’s not lost on us that the last five seasons have been difficult. We’re focused on being active and making changes to start to play better baseball more consistently.” There isn’t a GM in this league that would give you a specific number of wins they are looking for this season. Sure, we all know what it would require to make the playoffs but to drag this team out of the basement, Bridich doesn’t believe the number of wins should be the focal point. “[We are] not focused on win total. [We are] focused on how we play the game. There are things we have to do better on both sides of the ball. [We are] focused on the process and not the result and over time, that will pay dividends.”
Logically, this makes sense and given time, the process that Bridich is outlining could work. The problem, though, is just that: time. How much time (and money) do fans of the Rockies continue to give to a team that seems rudderless? Jeff Bridich is clearly a very smart man and the hope is that he leads this team down a path different from his predecessors. However, the Rockies find themselves in a predicament where the trust and loyalty is shattered and there has never been more distance between the organization and its fans. Wins ARE important. They are the bedrock of success, right? Winning is what actually makes you a competitive team. The “process” that has been in place for the better part of a decade hasn’t been working, so why should fans buy in now?
For what it’s worth, Bridich knows that it starts with attention to details for the Rockies, especially when it comes to pitching. “From a pitching perspective, it’s being more consistently competitive and be able to execute against opponents. No team has a perfect rotation but need to have one that gives us more consistently a chance to win. Need to have a deep bullpen.” There it is again: Consistency. If fans can hope for anything this season, it’s consistency. The pitchers need to know they will get consistent offense from their hitters both at home and on the road and the hitters need to know what kind of pitching performance to expect night-in and night-out.
“We need to really, truly be more consistent as an offense. Understanding the value of every single out and understanding the value of pushing across runs, especially on the road,” said Bridich on the inconsistent offensive product over the past several seasons. “I do believe we have one of the best defenses in the league.”
So as we near the start of the season and Rockies fans amp up to possibly be let down, once again, this year, please keep in mind one specific thing. The Rockies need to build on something and right now, that something is: consistency. They have lacked this fundamental piece of the puzzle for too long and it is the reason they may never be considered a contender in their division or in Major League Baseball.
Bridich, like some Rockies fans this time of year, is an optimist too. He optimistically hopes the team he has assembled will be competitive and possibly change the culture of losing that fans have grown far too accustomed to seeing. “It’s really a matter of the details of how we play the game,” said Bridich. “The guys need to believe in each other. Anybody that’s ever been on high performing teams, there’s that element of fun and belief. Picking each other up. I hope that we are revisiting that sort of baseball again.”
TOP PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports