The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the D-Backs and Reds. The Rox currently stand at 69-77. Fifteen and half games behind the D-Backs for the division lead in fourth place. Currently 38-36 at home and 31-41 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 683-671 (expected wins is 72 versus historical wins at 69). On pace for 77 wins with 745 runs scored and 758 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.98 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).
With the white flag officially raised, late 2011 (or really early 2012) Spring Training is in full swing. Newcomers Pacheco, Rosario, and Pomeranz will see significant playing time in preparation for next year. With the Tulsa Drillers (Rox AA affiliate) in full review, is this a positive or negative? The biggest negative is this year's squad, as constructed, couldn't get it done. A Fowler, CarGo, Smith, Helton, Lopez, Tulo, Stewart, Iannetta lineup with Jimenez, de la Rosa, Hammel, Rogers, and Cook staff did not have sufficient talent to get to the playoffs (I still question where did that April team go?). Hard to believe, with the loss of one pitcher, the Rox season was derailed. So essentially the loss of de la Rosa started to expose the core that led to the dismal output of what is projected to be a 77 win season (10 games off what was expected as a minimum). So if 2011 lineup and staff couldn't get those extra 10 wins does Pomeranz, White, Pacheco, and Rosario going to provide that something extra?
So the 2012 lineup at this point is probably Fowler, CarGo, Mr. X, Helton, Ellis, Tulo, Pacheco (?), and Rosario with a staff consisting of Chacin, Pomeranz, White, Millwood (?), and Mr. Y (or Hammel or Rogers) with de la Rosa and possibly Nicasio coming in late in the Summer. Pitching would seem to be stocked although can Rox really rely on an inconsistent number one, two rookies, a cagey veteran, and some makeshift fifth starter? With such inexperience I could see the Rox sinking into no man's land until the cavalry comes in.
Which brings me to CarGo's announcement about "needing help" He succinctly put it that him and Tulo have had a statistically wonderful year and yet the team find themselves 8 games under 0.500. What sort of help might that be and what could the Rox legimately go after in the Fall? Look at the Brewers...they surrounded their two monster bats with mostly pitching. Problem is the Rox have never been overly successful at luring decent pitching to Coors. Free agent pitchers for next year include C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda, Roy Oswalt (options remaining), Ryan Dempster (options remaining), Aaron Harany, Jeff Francis (!), Javier Vazques, and Paul Maholm. Nothing jumps out to me as a possibly Mr. Y. Of course Rox have some trade bait and some money so we shall see.
As far as Mr. X -- the early prediction appears to be Michael Cuddyer but with the Pujols and Fielder sweepstakes who knows what the Rox can steal? Anyhoo they have six months to figure it out before next season starts.