On Thursday the Rockies finalized a Minor League contract with Tim Redding. On Friday word was spreading that he is a clubhouse cancer.
The Rockies pride themselves on pursuing not just good baseball players, but baseball players who conduct themselves with integrity and have high moral standards. This fact has led to the team having great clubhouse chemistry and a focused approach.
A day after signing with the Rockies, Redding is doing his best to destroy that reputation.
On Friday it became national news that Redding had gone on a radio show and discussed how former teammate Mike Bacsik had purposely given up Barry Bonds 756th home run. A home run that put the controversy-laden slugger into first place all time in home runs.
Bacsik, out of baseball since that 2007 season, went on Baseball Tonight to defend himself. Not only did he deny the accusation, he went much further than that. He made it clear that Redding was a bad teammate and that he often rubbed people the wrong way. He said that he would get under guys skin, even in the middle of a game.
While Bacsik is undoubtedly talking out of anger. His words are strong. They are very powerful words because they suggest that Redding has a bad reputation around the league. That might not be a big deal for some teams in the league, but for the Rockies that is a big red flag. In both playoff seasons in the past three years it was clear that the reason the Rockies were able to dig themselves out of a hole was because they were such a tight-knit group that they all were fighting for a common cause. Clubhouse cancers were not around.
Even the act of saying that about Bacsik on a sports radio show goes against the code of baseball. There is no reason to throw a past teammate under the bus, simply because the opportunity exists. Why, 2-1/2 years later, would Redding feel the need to accuse Bacsik of such actions? Even if Bacsik had grooved a fastball for Bonds to crush, that is a matter that should be handled internally, in the clubhouse of a team. Actions like that should never reach the media.
The other dumb part about what Redding said is that even if Bacsik had grooved him a fastball, this is not like another sport, where a goalie can simply let the puck go by, or a basketball player can fail to play defense. In baseball, even a grooved pitch is tough to guarantee a home run on. Even the most batter friendly fastballs are missed more often than not. The statement is ridiculous to make.
The good news for the Rockies is that Redding should not crack the Opening Day roster. He is clearly just a backup plan in case someone gets injured, and even that does not guarantee him a spot on the 25-man roster. However, simply signing him to a contract and bringing him to camp is worrisome. The Rockies usually pass on guys like that before even considering them. If the Rockies are smart, they will come to their senses and find a different backup plan heading into April.