The Colorado Rockies are one of the most mockable organizations in Major League Baseball, and while the extremely unique elements that Coors Field/the mile-high altitude present will always make it a difficult challenge to produce a sustainable winner, the ownership certainly hasn’t helped things.
The Monforts have made a minimal effort to try to turn the Rockies into a championship-contending team since taking over as the organization’s primary owners in 2005. In an NL West division with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants (and with the San Diego Padres recently emerging as a title contender), it’s made contending even for a division crown to be a near impossibility for the Rockies in most years. In fact, the Rockies have still *never* won a division title since becoming an MLB organization in 1993. In 2022, Colorado went 68-94, finishing 43 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.
The Rockies have been very quiet this offseason, with pretty much every acquisition being of the roster-filler variety.
Well, on Saturday, Dick Montfort — Colorado chairman and CEO — spoke at the Breakfast of Champions event in Greeley, CO.
According to Patrick Lyons of DNVR, Monfort told those in attendance that he thinks the Rockies “can play .500 ball” in 2023.
“I think we can play .500 ball.”#Rockies owner Dick Monfort speaking in Greeley at the Breakfast of Champions event.
— Patrick Lyons (@PatrickDLyons) January 28, 2023
This would be an embarrassing statement for an owner to make on just about any professional sports organization ahead of a season, but especially one that is constantly criticized for not trying hard enough and not having higher expectations and goals. And getting to “.500 ball” is basically a dead-end in division that features two teams that could win 100-plus games in the Dodgers and Padres (to go with so many Wild Card contenders: the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals are among other National League teams that could win 90-plus games).
Going exactly .500 (81-81) was what the Giants did in 2022, and that had them 30 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West (and eight games behind the second-place Padres).
(Monfort also went with the classic move of an ownership that isn’t spending enough by pointing to the recognition the farm system is getting.)
“They named the Top 100 prospects in baseball and we had four of them. And I kid you not: there could have been 15.”
~Dick Monfort, owner of the Colorado Rockies
— DNVR Rockies (@DNVR_Rockies) January 28, 2023
Here’s the more embarrassing thing: the Rockies, as currently constructed, aren’t even close to a .500 team on paper.
Considering how poorly the Rockies played when the Monforts predicted 94 wins, I can't imagine how poorly they'll play when the Monforts say .500 ball.
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 28, 2023
The FanGraphs Depth Charts currently have the entire Rockies team projected for 25.7 wins above replacement. That’s dead last (by 1.8 WAR over the next-worst team) in the majors, and 26.5 WAR behind the Padres.
The Rockies currently have 25.7 total team WAR per the FanGraphs projected depth charts, easily the worst. The Padres are more than double that.
— Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) January 28, 2023
Rockies fans — who continue to produce top-10 attendance numbers in baseball — deserve better than this, but there’s no sign anything will change with the organization anytime soon. It may just get worse before it gets better for the Rockies in a division that features multiple juggernauts.