The Colorado Rockies don’t fire people. Ever.
The merits of job security in professional sports, and whether it helps or hinders the effectiveness of players and coaches alike, will always be up for debate. Some franchises value stability and the peace of mind it brings for its player and coaches. Others like to see people perform under fire, thrive from competition, and succeed because they have to in order to keep their spot.
The Rockies take the mindset of stability and job security to the absolute extreme.
At your company you might know an employee who has worked there forever. He/she has long been ineffective at their job, and they have seen their position redefined/modified/slimmed down a number of times over the years. They reach a point where nobody even knows what their actual job is. They just show up, day after day. They’re always there.
Then one day, you’re giving the new guy a tour, and he asks you a simple question:
“Hey, who’s that?”
“Oh, that’s Phil.”
“What does he do?”
“I don’t know, actually. I just know he’s been here forever.”
At this rate, the Rockies are going to have like 25 of those people roaming their front office.
“Hi there, I’m the new guy in scouting. What’s your name?”
“Great to meet you. I’m Bob Apodaca.”
“Nice to meet you too, Bob. And what do you do here?”
“I’m a consultant.”
“Oh, like for a certain area of the team? Pitching? Or in the Minor Leagues?”
“Yea…I’m just a consultant.”
The Rockies don’t fire people, they “re-assign” them within the organization. You can now add former catching coach Jerry Weinstein to that list, as Rene Lachemann will now serve as catching coach.
General Manager Dan O’Dowd (wait, he is the GM, right? I’m never sure) offered the following explanation for the move (quote courtesy of the Denver Post):
Jerry is a teacher at heart and his return to player development will allow him to impact our organization in more ways…”
Patrick Saunders, who wrote the article for the Denver Post, goes on to laud Weinstein’s resume as a catching coach, lending some credibility to O’Dowd’s explanation of his
Though most fans don’t know much about Weinstein, he is one of the hardest working men in the organization. He charted every game and met daily with Rosario to go over opposing hitting charts and to work on Rosario’s fundamentals. Though Rosario still needs a lot of work behind the plate, he did improve from 2012 to 2013. Rosario played in a career-high 121 games in 2013, committing nine errors for a fielding percentage of .987. He was charged with nine passed balls. In 2012, he had 21 passed balls, 13 errors and a fielding percentage of .983.”
Here’s the thing though. According to BaseballReference.com, those nine passed balls were still tied for the National League lead. Additionally, the 47 wild pitches that occurred on Rosario’s watch were third-worst in the NL. And his improved fielding percentage of .987? That was fifth-worst in the NL, ahead of only four catchers (one of whom was teammate Jordan Pacheco).
So you can say he improved because he is getting better and because of better coaching, but you can also point out that he was bound to get a little better because it would have been impossible for him to be worse (if he had somehow gotten worse, this would be another conversation entirely). So yea, he wasn’t as bad as he was in 2012, but that really isn’t saying much. He still stinks.
How much does that have to do with Weinstein? I have no idea and I don’t want to indulge a confirmation bias and say that Rosario’s struggles obviously show that he’s a bad coach. But it would also be hard to say he did a good job coaching the catchers. The Rockies initiated this change, so it probably isn’t a stretch to say that they weren’t totally thrilled with the job he did either.
I’m not here to endorse firing people, but sheesh, if you’re going to make a change then go ahead and make an actual change. These reassignments sure seem silly.
As for Lachemann, I am not OK with the decision to remove him from first base coach. Last off-season we lost Glenallen Hill from that spot…something that exhausted me emotionally and still strikes a pang of sadness in my gut when I think back on it. I only was able to move on because Lachemann held down the spot proudly, including some fine moments with young fans:
Between that and his trademark toothpick, I was on board. And now he’s leaving. You can’t just keep doing this to me guys. Enough with the reshuffling and reassigning, please.