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Tag:Jim Tracy
Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:43 pm
 

Rockies' Nicasio takes a big step forward

Juan Nicasio

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Spring outings are rarely anything to get worked up about, much less a performance in an intrasquad game. But the Rockies' intrasquad game on Sunday had one of the best performances we'll see this spring.

Colorado right-hander Juan Nicasio threw two scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing two hits and hitting a batter. He also hit 97 on the radar gun, while consistently throwing 93-95 and threw 27 strikes in his 35 pitches, according to the Denver Post.

What makes all that different than all the other outings around baseball is that Nicasio was making his first start since suffering a broken neck last August after being hit in the head by a line drive.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he was encouraged by the way Nicasio, who could win a spot in the team's rotation, handled himself on Sunday.

"We will see more when he throws against another club," Tracy told the newspaper. "But obviously one of the things we were looking for was his reaction as he goes to throw the pitch -- meaning, is he going to finish the pitch? Or is he going to start fielding his position too soon to protect himself? Will you see some recoil or something like that? But there was absolutely none of that."

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 8:23 pm
 

Rockies extend Tracy via 'handshake agreement'

By Matt Snyder

The Colorado Rockies have announced via their official Twitter feed that there's a "handshake agreement" in place to keep Jim Tracy as the manager beyond the 2012 season. His current contract is set to expire after this coming season, but with this agreement he won't be a lame duck manager.

"We expect this relationship to continue for a number of years," general manager Dan O'Dowd said in a statement. "We are building a culture of value together in a world of performance."

Tracy, 56, is 230-210 as Rockies' skipper, with a career mark of 792-782. He took over in Colorado when Clint Hurdle was fired after an 18-28 start in 2009. Under Tracy, the Rockies caught fire, going 74-42 the rest of the way, winning the NL wild card for the third time in club history. The 92 total wins were a club record. They stumbled to 83-79 in 2010 and then to 73-89 last season, finishing fourth.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Rockies won't limit Nicasio in spring training

Juan Nicasio

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Want a feel-good story? How about Juan Nicasio?

The Rockies' right-hander suffered a broken neck last August when he was hit by an Ian Desmond liner. Not only is Nicasio in camp with the Rockies, he's in line for a spot in the team's rotation.

"I am one of those people that didn't think we would be talking about him on Feb. 16 on how he has a very, very good chance to be a member of our rotation. But that's where we are at," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. "He's coming into camp with the mindset that he's making the team."

Tracy said Nicasio will have no limitations this spring and will even participate in the team's "ragball drills" where pitchers are graded on their ability to field comebackers.

As a rookie in 2012, Nicasio was 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 13 starts, dominating at Coors Field where he was 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in seven starts (and 0-3 with a 7.04 ERA in six starts away from Coors).

The Rockies are set at the top of their rotation with Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin, but after that, the final three rotation spots are up for grabs. As Matt Snyder pointed out last week, there's plenty of candidates, with few answers. Among those gunning for a spot in the rotation in addition to Nicasio are Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, Guillermo Moscoso, Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman and Jamie Moyer.

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 8:12 pm
 

Rockies trade for Jim Tracy's son

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Remember in Little League when someone's dad was the coach, that kid automatically was placed on that team? Well, it's not quite like that in the major leagues. That said, Chad S. Tracy may be playing for his dad this season.

The Rockies acquired Tracy from the Rangers in exchange for right-hander Greg Reynolds, the Rockies announced on Thursday.

The younger Tracy (not to be confused with the former Diamondback Chad Tracy), is the son of Colorado manager Jim Tracy. The 26-year-old hit .259/.339/.475 with 26 home runs and 109 RBI in 134 games for Triple-A Round Rock, playing mostly at first base and also three games in left field.

Reynolds, 26, was the second-overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Rockies (after the Royals took Luke Hochevar and before the Rays took Evan Longoria -- and five picks before the Dodgers took Clayton Kershaw and eight spots ahead of Tim Lincecum.) Reynolds pitched in 13 games for hte Rockies last season, going 3-0 with a 6.19 ERA overall, starting three games. In 32 innings, he struck out 18 and walked two. He started 13 games for the Rockies in 2008 and finished 2-8 with an 8.13 ERA in 14 appearances.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:22 pm
 

The 2011 Anti-Managers of the Year



By Matt Snyder


Some of the best managers in baseball for 2011 were listed on ballots that were revealed Wednesday. Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson came out on top in a completely unsurprising movement. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Who were the worst managers? We'll exclude guys who were fired during the season because they've already suffered enough. But what about the managers who kept their jobs well into September despite failing to meet preseason expectations? Let's check them out.

AL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Terry Francona, Red Sox. No, he wasn't fired during the season. He walked away after the season, so he's "eligible" in this fun little exercise. And with the fallout of the historic collapse we've already heard far too much about, you have to question everyone in the Red Sox organization. Francona built up a ton of credibility throughout his years at the helm in Boston and rightfully so, but in looking at just 2011, the awful September is a real black eye on his resume.

Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. He wasn't fired either. He walked away to take a new job after having a colossal disappointment of a season. The White Sox were picked by many to win the AL Central with what looked like a stacked offense and very good starting pitching. Instead, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios were albatrosses, Gordon Beckham took a step backward in his development and the back-end of the bullpen was a mess for the first several weeks of the season. There were some positives, but the negatives far outweighed those on a high-priced roster that failed to meet expectations.

Ron Gardenhire, Twins. It's hard to completely blame Gardenhire for the disaster that was the Twins' 2011 season, considering all the injuries, but, frankly, I needed a third name here. And with the Twins getting 31 games worse in one season, Gardenhire has to shoulder at least some of the load.

The pick: It's gotta be Francona with that monumental collapse. And the funny thing is, I'd hire him in a heartbeat if I was running a team with a managerial opening. He just had a bad month, along with many of his players.

NL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves. His ballclub lost a double-digit lead in the NL wild card in one month. That's not always on the manager, as the offense was sputtering just as it had most of the season, but I'm placing a lot of blame on Gonzalez because the back-end of his bullpen started to falter down the stretch. All season, people had been pointing out the overuse of Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. And all season, Gonzalez just ignored it, and continued running the duo out there, even with three-run leads. Just because the save rule says a three-run lead means a save opportunity doesn't mean you have to use your guys. What was wrong with using Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill with a three-run lead in the middle of July, for example? Plus, there were times Gonzalez used either Venters or Kimbrel with a lead bigger than three. That's just unexcusable.

Dusty Baker, Reds. The Reds got 12 games worse in a mediocre division (yes, there were two good teams, but three pretty bad ones) with very similar personnel to their division-winning team in 2010. In four seasons, Baker has only had a winning record once.

Mike Quade, Cubs. Flawed roster? Yes. Injuries? Sure. But Quade was still pretty overmatched and appeared to lose control of his locker room by July. This was coming from a guy many players endorsed prior to the season.

Jim Tracy, Rockies. The Jorge De La Rosa injury hurt, just as some underperformance from a few players, but the Rockies entered the season with far too much talent to end up a whopping 16 games under .500. Manager of the Year voting seems to always use performance versus expectations, so it's only fair the Anti-Manager does the same. Thus, Tracy's inclusion here.

The pick: Gonzalez, and I'd actually think about firing him due to the aforementioned overuse of Kimbrel and Venters. It cost his team the season. Hopefully the wear and tear doesn't alter the career paths of the young fireballers.

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Posted on: September 21, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Mets might change Citi Field dimensions



By Matt Snyder


A common refrain since the Mets moved into Citi Field is that the outfield dimensions cost the team loads of home runs in each given season. Notably, it's been discussed how many homers have turned into doubles for David Wright by several different New York reporters. Only Kauffman Stadium (Royals) and AT&T Park (Giants) have been worse for home runs this season and Citi Field ranked 27th in homers last season.

Two areas in particular that have drawn malign are the height of the left-field wall (why not have it the same height as the center-field wall?) and the well in right field (where it says "Modell's"). It feels like changing those two things would make it a pretty average ballpark for hitters.

Well, changes could be on the horizon, and not-so-small changes at that.

“If we do something, it won’t be subtle,” general manager Sandy Alderson said (NYTimes.com Bats blog), noting that changes are not definite but the Mets are looking hard at several different options.

“We’re not looking necessarily to gain an advantage with respect to home runs versus visitor’s home runs,” Alderson said (NYTimes.com Bats blog). “But at the same time, I think there is some sense that the park is a little more overwhelming to a team that spends half its time there, as opposed to a team that comes in for three games, doesn’t really have to alter its approach or think about it too much and leaves.”

I tend to agree with him. All things equal, I'd much rather have my team playing in a league-average ballpark instead of an extreme-hitter or extreme-pitcher park. Not that it definitely determines the fate of your ballclub -- it doesn't -- but if either pitchers or hitters collectively believe they're getting screwed for 81 games, it's hard to keep a positive mentality for the whole season.

'Fan' is short for 'fanatic:' A Yankees fan had the task of serving Red Sox starting pitcher Erik Bedard with child support papers Tuesday and relished in it. He wore a Yankees shirt and bragged on Facebook that he intentionally served Bedard on a day of his start (Big League Stew). Bedard went out and gave up five hits and four runs (though only one was earned) in 2 2/3 innings. Let's hope this fan never accuses any player of lacking professionalism, or else we've got a nice case of hypocrisy working.

Lincecum endorses Kershaw: The NL Cy Young vote is going to be quite competitive, with Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kennedy and some Phillies likely garnering most of the votes. Two-time winner Tim Lincecum believes the winner should be Kershaw. “Just with the numbers he has, he’s leading in a lot of categories, to put up a 20-win season is huge, especially with the team he’s got. He’s done a magnificent job with his year," Lincecum said after losing to Kershaw again (Extra Baggs). The two aces have squared off four times. Lincecum has a 1.24 ERA in those outings, but Kershaw has won all four.

Harwell's glasses are back: In Tuesday's Pepper, we passed along the story that a statue of late, great Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell had been stripped of its glasses. Well, the replacement set of frames is back at home (Detroit Free-Press). Let's hope these stay there for a while.

Aramis' swan song: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was traded to the Cubs in July of 2003. He played on three playoff teams, in two All-Star games and solidified a position that hadn't been locked down since Ron Santo manned the hot corner. The Cubs have a $16 million option for 2012 on Ramirez and he has repeatedly said he wants to stay, but the feeling apparently isn't mutual. When asked if he believes this is his last run with the Cubs, he replied (Chicago Tribune): "Probably. There's a good chance. I'm a free agent and I don't know what's going to happen. But it looks like I'm going to hit the market."

Movie Night! "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was a huge hit in the 80s, and it includes a scene in Wrigley Field. It's only fitting that Wrigley's first "Movie Night" will be showing the Matthew Broderick film October 1 (Chicago Tribune). Bleacher seats are $10, while lawn seats are $25. That's steep for a movie that hit theaters in 1986, but would the novelty of sitting on Wrigley Field's playing surface be worth it? You make the call.

No ERA title for Cueto: Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was already suspected to be ruled out for the season, and now he's even admitting as much (MLB.com). With the Reds out of the race, this wouldn't normally matter, but Cueto had a shot at leading the league in ERA. His 2.31 mark currently trails only Kershaw (2.27). The problem is that Cueto has only thrown 156 innings. In order to qualify for an ERA crown, a pitcher must have thrown at least one inning for each game his team has played. So once the Reds play game 157, Cueto falls off the ERA standings.

Rockies love Tracy, kind of: Rockies manager Jim Tracy is signed through 2012 and his job is safe at least through the length of the contract. "Jim is signed through next year, and we'd love to have him be manager here for much longer than that. But I have gone into the last year of my contract here more than you could imagine," general manager Dan O'Dowd told The Denver Post. So that sounds good, right? Well, depends upon the point of view. He's not offering a contract extension, and you'll notice the comment about going into the last year of a contract. So it sounds like O'Dowd likes Tracy for now, but he's giving himself a chance to change his mind by the end of next year. And he has every right to do that.

Watch those Nats: If you relish in the failures of the Nationals, you better enjoy it while you can. I've preached all season that the proverbial corner would be turned soon, with a great young base of talent and lots of money available for free agents. Speaking of which, expect the Nats to be hot after All-Star starting pitcher C.J. Wilson -- who is a free agent after this season -- this coming offseason (MLB.com via Twitter).

Saito can't get healthy: Brewers reliever Takashi Saito has been excellent this season, sporting a 1.90 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Of course, he's only thrown 23 2/3 innings due to a series of injuries. Now he's dealing with a calf injury (MLB.com).

More roadblocks for McCourt: One of the ways embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt plans to get out of his financial mess is to sell the TV rights to Dodgers games for future seasons. Well, Fox holds the Dodgers' TV rights through 2013 and has a problem with McCourt trying to negotiate a deal immediately (LATimes.com).

Johan's progress: Mets' ace Johan Santana continues to work his surgically repaired shoulder back into shape. After throwing a three-inning simulated game Saturday, he's now slated for two instructional league games (Oct. 1 and Oct. 7). (ESPN New York)

Happy Anniversary: On this day 15 years ago, Vladimir Guerrero hit his first career home run (Hardball Times). He now has 449.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 10:32 am
 

Pepper: Crawford apologizes to Red Sox fans



By Matt Snyder


With the Rays climbing to within two games of the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race, it's going to be a fun final two weeks for baseball fans. Some interesting perspective on the drama comes from current Red Sox and former Rays' left fielder Carl Crawford.

Crawford played nine seasons and 1,253 regular-season games for the Rays. He's easily the best player in the history of the young franchise at this point, but he walked this past offseason for a seven-year, $142 million deal and signed with the Red Sox. And he's now having the worst season of his career, from an individual standpoint.

In a diary entry for ESPN.com, Crawford notes that hears the boos from "haters" when the Red Sox visit Tampa Bay and that those fans need to realize he's going to be coming back for six more years. Two more entries of note:

"If Tampa makes a miracle comeback and takes the wild card from us, I will be devastated. I definitely wouldn't want to lose to those guys and watch them get into the playoffs while we go home. That would just be devastating to me."

And ...

"I want to end the diary saying something to the fans of Boston. I just want to say I'm sorry for the year I've had. You guys have been really supportive and I appreciate that. Hopefully when we get into these playoffs, I can be the real Carl Crawford that I know I am. We'll see."

I love seeing that kind of accountability from someone who could easily just blow everyone off and count his millions.

Ironman: Speaking of the Rays, Johnny Damon has now tied Pete Rose and Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Hank Aaron with an impressive streak. Damon has now played in at least 140 games in 16 different seasons, making it a four-way tie atop the all-time record book (TampaBay.com). Does anyone doubt Damon can do it again next year and set the record? I sure don't.

More from Damon: This is funny, and true. Damon points out that Red Sox fans have to root for the Yankees now. “They’re going to have to root for them if they want a chance at the postseason,” Damon said (BostonHerald.com). “They couldn’t root for me when I played in New York. Now they have to root for the whole team.” Man, how much are Yankees fans relishing this?

Happy Birthday: Hall of Famer Joe Morgan turns 68 Monday (Hardball Times). The two-time MVP is widely considered the best second baseman to ever play the game (and was also a broadcaster for years, but we'll leave that alone, being his birthday and all ... )

While we're here: Speaking of Joe, he just led the world's largest chicken dance. Check it out (via Big League Stew):



Sigh: Tigers manager Jim Leyland says he isn't an "on-base percentage guy." (MLB.com) Look, Leyland knows a lot more about baseball than I do, which is quite an obvious fact. But that doesn't mean he can't be wrong about certain things. I just don't understand what it is with the so-called "old-school mentality" that prevents people from grasping that OBP is the percentage of times batters don't make an out. I don't get how you can not be an OBP guy. You go to the plate with a bat. The main object is to not make an out. It's very, very simple. Leyland, thankfully, doesn't say he likes batting average, but instead slugging. Slugging percentage is much more important than average, but OBP is much more important. Think about it. Even if you're just churning out singles and walks over and over, you're still scoring runs. Slugging is very important, too, which is why OPS has gotten more and more run in recent years.

Humbled Ozzie: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen recently made a trip to the Negro Baseball League Museum in Kansas City and came away with a renewed appreciation for everything he has. "It’s so different, and sometimes you shake your head at what these guys went through all this stuff for baseball to be better now than then," he said (Chicago Tribune).

Shoot him up: Phillies slugging first baseman Ryan Howard has bursitis in his left ankle, and he'll have a cortisone shot to help him deal with the issue the rest of the season. (MLB.com)

Johan 'felt good:' Mets ace Johan Santana threw a three-inning simulated game Sunday and he "felt good." (ESPN New York)

Johnson wants Wang back: Chien-Ming Wang has been a bit inconsistent in his return to the hill this season, but he's shown flashes of being solid -- like in his quality-start win Sunday. It will be tough to squeeze into the Nationals' rotation next season, especially if they land a free agent like C.J. Wilson, but current Nats manager Davey Johnson says he'd bring Wang back. "As far as I'm concerned, he's a keeper," Johnson said (MASN Sports).

Don't rush: Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa underwent Tommy John surgery June 3, but he's looking to be back by opening day of next season. That wouldn't be unheard of, but it would be just 10 months after a procedure which typically has a 10-14 month recovery period. So it would certainly be a quick recovery. Jim Tracy, his manager, wants De La Rosa to be patient. “I told him (De La Rosa) about Dr. Jobe and the importance of following the program and don’t try to deviate,’’ said Tracy (DenverPost.com). “Don’t try to speed it up. If you do that and you follow the program and you don’t try to speed it up, you’ll feel like you have a bionic arm. Because it will completely heal and you’ll basically have a brand new elbow.

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 7:35 pm
 

Rockies' Pomeranz to debut on Sunday

Drew PomeranzBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Just more than three weeks after undergoing an appendectomy, Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz will make his big-league debut on Sunday against the Reds.

The centerpiece of the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland, Pomeranz has just thrown 10 innings in Double-A since July 25. In two starts in the Rockies' system, Pomeranz has thrown 10 scoreless innings, including three perfect innings on Monday night, striking out three batters for Double-A Tulsa. In his organizational debut on Aug. 17, Pomeranz threw seven scoreless innings for Tulsa, allowing just two hits and striking out four. Overall this season, he's 4-3 with a 1.78 ERA in 20 starts, striking out 119 batters in 101 innings. Batters are hitting just .189 against him this season.

Pomeranz threw 47 pitches on Monday and will be on a  pitch count on Sunday against Cincinnati. 

"Obviously you're anxious to see that, just like you were anxious to see Alex White," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told the Denver Post. "He's left-handed, you've gotten rave reviews about what people in the organization have seen up to this point. … But Sunday he gets to face major league hitters and you get to find out that there's a little bit of difference between facing hitters in the Texas League and facing hitters in the major leagues."

Pomeranz was the fifth pick overall in the 2010 draft by the Indians and came over to the Rockies in the trade that also sent the right-handed White to Colorado along with first baseman/outfielder Matt McBride and right-hander Joseph Gardner.

White, the Indians first-rounder in 2009, has made three starts for the Rockies, going 1-1 with a 7.41 ERA. He had a no-decision in his Rockies debut on Aug. 23 and picked up his first win in the National League on Saturday, allowing five hits and four runs in five innings in a 5-4 Colorado win at San Diego. He also had three starts for the Indinas, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA with the Indians.

Since going to Cleveland, Jimenez has gone 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA in seven starts.

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