Little attention has been given to yet another poor front office move in Denver. The Colorado Rockies have become infamous for their management’s consistent gaffes and they are on par with that reputation yet again.
The Rox are perceived by many as a team that hasn’t quite figured out a direction. They sign big name superstars to big contracts that would lead one to believe they were building to contend, and then follow that up by trying to resurrect a fading player’s career. That is exactly what has happened with Roy Oswalt.
In case you missed it, here’s a quick look at what Roy Oswalt has given the Colorado Rockies this year. Before landing on the DL from an aged body breaking down, Oswalt appeared in five games, starting four of those for Colorado. He has managed an 8.57 ERA and has given up 33 hits in 21.0 innings of work. Oswalt never really showed a glimpse of what he once was. Since he left Houston 2010, Oswalt’s numbers have been in decline. The 13-year veteran is now 36 years old and somehow has the Rockies disillusioned. It is clear to everyone outside of the Colorado front office that Roy Oswalt is not a starting pitcher anymore.
Yet while Colorado continues to search for what’s left in Roy Oswalt, they are neglecting their future. Just designated to a reliever role, Chad Bettis, whose 97 mph fastball, groomed at Texas Tech, suffers.
Bettis, a 24-year-old right hander started eight games for the Rockies this season. He had gone 0-3 with a 4.89 ERA as a starter. Known for his fastball, the rookie has many years of quality pitching ahead of him; which is exactly what the Colorado Rockies need. He needs work, sure, but what better way to give him work then late season starts that don’t matter.
It’s no secret: one of the biggest holes in the Rockies’ season was created by poor pitching. A lack of consistency from starters and the bullpen became too much for Colorado and they slipped far out of playoff contention. For the franchise to move forward, they need to evaluate their roster for the future. The past two seasons have offered the perfect opportunity to do so. After all, that’s what garbage time is all about. But the key to evaluating for the future is growing your prospects and your young players. As seen with Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson, the only way you get the players big league experience is letting them play big league baseball. So why are they taking away starts and innings from a potential young starting pitcher?
Bettis is being tossed back and forth. The Rockies can’t decide whether he is a starter or a reliever. Although Bettis has expressed his interest in starting, manager Walt Weiss said earlier this week, “I think you have to make the determination whether a guy is maybe more of a sprinter vs. a guy who can go through a lineup three times in a row.” So instead of letting him start some games and take on a lineup three times in a row, in games that won’t mean anything, they are going to evaluate him based upon Roy Oswalt’s starts.
As for Bettis’ future, “I think we will probably make that decision before spring training…I can’t say that will be 100 percent certain, but I think so,” explained Weiss. So what exactly is he explaining? We will have an answer by March of 2014? What’s wrong with throwing the kid out there and having a good idea by October 2013? As a team Colorado has suffered through rough outings all year to find four starters for next year. The emergence of Tyler Chatwood, Juan Nicasio, and Jhoulys Chacin will complement Jorge De La Rosa next season. Instead of looking for the fifth guy in a dying career, why not explore the guy whose career just is beginning?
As we are left to decipher exactly what the Rockies front office sees in Roy Oswalt, we’ll watch a perfect growing opportunity for Chad Bettis go to waste. While potential sits in the bullpen in a black Rockies jacket, we’ll watch Roy Oswalt struggle to keep opposing batters off the base paths. Many Rockies fans were hoping September would provide the team with answers going forward into the 2014 season. It’s just a shame that the only ones who can’t see the answers are the very ones whose opinions matter.