Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post doubts the Rockies will bring back manager Walt Weiss, whose contract expires after the season, but he argues that it would be hypocritical of loyalty-preaching owner Dick Monfort to let Weiss go. “It’s a bottom-line business,” said Weiss, with whom the Rockies have gone 279-355 since 2013. At 71-77, the Rockies are currently on track to post their best record under Weiss, who deserves a two-year deal, opines Kiszla. Colorado’s talent has clearly increased lately, as evidenced by 24-year-old right-hander Jon Gray’s complete game, 16-strikeout performance in an 8-0 win over San Diego on Saturday. Weiss agrees, telling Kiszla, “There’s more talent in the stable than in the past. With the horses in this stable, there are more thoroughbreds.
More from Colorado and two other National League cities:
- The recent emergence of another talented Rockies player in his early 20s, Raimel Tapia, has added to an already crowded outfield, writes the Denver Post’s Nick Kosmider, who adds that the team will have some interesting offseason decisions to make because of it. Kosmider wonders if the Rockies will once again deal an outfielder to upgrade their weak bullpen during the offseason. Colorado tried that last winter, sending Corey Dickerson to the Rays for Jake McGee, but the left-hander has been part of the problem for the Rockies’ beleaguered relief corps this year. Among the Rockies’ outfielders is offseason signing Gerardo Parra, who inked a three-year, $27.5MM deal in free agency. Parra, like McGee, has been a major disappointment in his initial season with the Rockies, but the club does like that he has shown an ability to play first base. “How much time he gets over there in the future, I don’t know. But it’s nice to be able to have that,” general manager Jeff Bridich told Kosmider.
- At 74-74 and five games out of a wild-card spot, the Pirates have gone backward this year after three straight playoff seasons. There are a slew of reasons for the team’s decline, as Travis Sawchuk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review details. One cause has been the starting rotation, where low-ceiling offseason acquisitions Jon Niese and Ryan Vogelsong have contributed little this year. The Pirates traded second baseman Neil Walker to the Mets last offseason for Niese, who pitched to a 4.91 ERA in 110 innings with Pittsburgh before it sent him back to New York for reliever Antonio Bastardo on Aug. 1. Vogelsong, a buy-low signing in free agency, has recorded a 4.87 ERA in 68 1/3 innings. In previous years, the Bucs gambled on high-upside starters like A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez, all of whom panned out and helped lead them to the playoffs.
- Like NL Central rival Pittsburgh, the Cardinals have also endured a less-than-ideal season. The 77-71 Redbirds are two games behind the Mets for the NL’s second wild-card spot and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010. That’s thanks in part to team-wide baserunning issues, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals are the majors’ fifth-worst baserunning team, per FanGraphs, after ranking a more respectable 15th last season. GM John Mozeliak is now formulating a plan to improve baserunning throughout the organization, having already spoken with special assistant Willie McGee, scout Kerry Robinson and farm director Gary LaRocque, according to Goold. “You get so much performance training that maybe there are times you forget about the need to strengthen the baseball skills,” Mozeliak said. “Baseball skills are hitting, defense, and baserunning. What do we need to do to make sure focusing on doesn’t detract from the others?”