The Rockies have fired director of research and development Scott Van Lenten just six months after hiring him away from the Nationals, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Saunders cites “major disagreements” between Van Lenten and the club regarding what his role would be moving forward. Thomas Harding of MLB.com adds that assistant GM Zack Rosenthal will currently oversee the Rockies’ R&D department while the club looks for a replacement. Remarkably, Danielle Allentuck of the Denver Gazette reports that the Rockies’ R&D department now has only five employees — most of whom were hired by Van Lenten.
The Rockies championed Van Lenten as a pivotal hire who would be tasked with building out an analytics department that was sorely lacking and miles behind most teams throughout the league. His hiring, which came only a few months after owner Dick Monfort dismissed GM Jeff Bridich and promoted longtime scouting director Bill Schmidt to the post, was one of many steps that was framed as progress for the front office. Specifics on what prompted the relationship to go south so quickly haven’t yet come to light, but it’s worth pointing out that Van Lenten was sold on a very specific vision for his role at the time of his hiring.
“When the Rockies reached out and were interested in talking to me, I was excited but I wanted to make sure what I was getting into,” Van Lenten told Harding back in September. “I wanted to make sure they were going to provide the resources, make sure they were going to be supportive and have a real vision and are going to have the resources to do it the right way. They were very supportive.”