For the seventh straight year, the MLB postseason kicked off and the Colorado Rockies weren’t a part of it. The Rockies capped their 75-87 season Sunday fittingly with a bullpen implosion that led to a loss.
The focus quickly turned toward 2017 quickly. Manager Walt Weiss announced he wouldn’t seek a new contract less than 12 hours after the season finale. General manager Jeff Bridich hopped on a conference call that morning and talked about the search for a new manager he’d conduct.
Before we start only thinking about next year, though, I wanted to take one last look back at the 2016 Rockies with an assist from the 1993 cult classic movie “Dazed and Confused.”
The stoner flick examines one small Texas town’s last day of school in 1976, and it’s full of more wisdom than you’d think. At least that’s what my older cousin told me when I was 12. Here are some quotes from the movie that might help you understand the 2016 Rockies:
“All I’m saying is I wanna look back and say that I did it the best I could when I was stuck in this place.”
To Carlos Gonzalez. (And hopefully not Nolan Arenado in two years.) Gonzalez has spent the better part of eight seasons in Colorado. His latest was another strong one. The sweet-swinging lefty slashed .298/.350/.505 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Gonzalez played his usual solid defense in right field, and around the All-Star break, dealt with those seemingly annual trade rumors. Gonzalez only has one year left on his deal. He’s owed $20 million. Some are speculating he could be traded in the offseason. Gonzalez has done fine work in Colorado. It’s a shame he’s only got one trip to the postseason to show for it.
“Alright, alright, alright.”
To Trevor Story. In “Dazed and Confused,” Matthew McConaughey’s character Wooderson says these famous words as he and his friend’s night out on the town is just beginning. If you had to sum up the beginning of rookie shortstop Story’s career, McConaughey’s famous catch phrase isn’t a bad way to do so — provided you say it in that drawl.
Story played 97 games before a thumb injury ended his season in early August. All he did was smash 27 home runs, 21 doubles and notch a .567 slugging percentage. Story broke the record for most home runs by an NL rookie shortstop. Despite missing the final two months of the season, he still finished tied-for-second in home runs among all shortstops. Not bad for a 23-year-old.
“It’d be a lot cooler if you did.”
To the Rockies bullpen. Oh man, were they bad in 2016. The acquisition of Jake McGee via trade and the offseason signings of Jason Motte and Chad Qualls went about as well as the idea to put an exclamation point after Jeb.
Colorado’s bullpen was among the worst in baseball. Opponents batted .273 against them, which was second-to-last in baseball, and their 5.13 ERA was dead last. They blew 28 saves, had the seventh-worst strikeout rate and gave up the eight-most walks per nine innings in baseball.
It was ugly. More than anything, the bullpen kept Colorado from approaching .500 this year or better.
“I only came here to do two things: Kick some ass, and drink some beer. And it looks like we’re almost out of beer.”
To D.J. LeMahieu for two reasons:
1. The idea of LeMahieu, one of the quietest, humblest dudes on the team, ever saying something like this is absurd and hilarious.
2. LeMahieu truly did kick some ass this year.
Colorado’s second baseman won the National League batting crown by batting .348. He had 192 hits and only struck out 80 times. His spray chart, courtesy of Fan Graphs, is a thing of beauty. (Keep in mind, he’s a righty.)
That… that is a lot of opposite-field hits.
“You just gotta keep livin, man. L-I-V-I-N.”
To Walt Weiss. It’s easy to look at his record as the manager (283-365) and be happy the team’s going in a different direction. But Weiss inherited a terrible team in 2012. The Rockies showed real signs of growth this year.
I don’t think Weiss did a great job, but I don’t think he did a bad one. Colorado’s lineup looks stacked; it finally has the foundation of a decent starting pitching staff. Weiss was dealt pocket twos with the bullpen this year. There was little he could do with them. I wish him luck out there.
“I’d like to stop thinking of the present as some minor, insignificant preamble to something else.”
To general manager Jeff Bridich.
On the conference call following Weiss’ departure, Colorado’s 39-year-old GM said, “I do think we do have a very talented team. There’s a really talented core at the major league level. … Especially with some of the pitching we have seen from some of the young guys we’ve been able to graduate this year, I think there is some talent with this group.”
Bridich recognizes there is enough talent here to make a postseason push in 2017. It’s highly doubtful he would’ve offered Weiss a new contract, even if Weiss wanted to come back. This offseason, he’ll pick a new manager and address a still-broken bullpen. How he does both will determine if the Rockies are playing meaningful baseball next October.