Over the coming weeks I will look back at the 2010 season for the Rockies. While they finished with the third best record in Rockies history, the season was still a failure. The Rockies were preseason favorites to win the division by most and there were more than a few experts picking them to go to the World Series. I do not think you will find anyone within the Rockies organization that will look at 2010 as a successful year.
This 10 part series will be a mixture of what went right in 2010 and what went wrong.
Part 3: Barmes and Iannetta get benched
In the 2009-2010 offseason the Rockies gave Chris Iannetta a three-year $8.35 million deal. After letting Yorvit Torrealba go and especially after this news of the new extended contract it appeared the Rockies were set on using Iannetta behind the plate in the coming years.
It was time for the talented young hitter to get enough reps behind the plate and at the plate to prove his worth to the Denver ballclub.
But, wait, the Rockies also gave Miguel Olivo, an older catcher, a one-year contract with a club option for 2011.
Color me confused.
If the Rockies were set on Iannetta why would they sign a guy who hit 23 home runs with the Kansas City Royals in 2008? Olivo hit over 20 home runs in three straight seasons from 2006-08 and had 15 bombs in 2009 in 114 games played.
Iannetta and Olivo alternated duty behind the plate in April. Iannetta played so poorly in the first month of the season (.133/.235/.333) that he was optioned to AAA on April 27th.
After tearing the cover off of the ball in Colorado Springs the Rockies brought him back up on May 25th. By this time Olivo was pounding the ball and starting to make a case to be voted into the All-Star game and Iannetta was clearly the backup.
Iannetta only received 189 more plate appearances after being recalled in late May and didn’t do much with his playing time. His triple slash of .209/.333/.392 leaves a lot to be desired. Now there are rumors of Victor Martinez flying around Denver and Iannetta’s time with the Rockies appears to be limited.
Another familiar face of the Rockies from the past four or five years, Clint Barmes, also appears to be on his way out.
With speedy Eric Young Jr. hot on his tail coming out of Spring Training Barmes was still given the everyday job at second base. His defense was just too valuable for Jim Tracy to overlook.
While Barmes has a very nice shortstop arm, he missed some routine plays early in the season while playing second base. At the end of April Barmes was batting .196/.274/.339. The guy who played spectacular defense last year, hit for a low average, but provided some pop from second base had turned into an average defender, who hit for a low average and very little power. The number of second basemen that fit that profile are a dime a dozen in the big leagues.
EY2 started to steal some playing time, but then went down with a broken leg. In May Barmes hit .221/.260/.358, not much better than April but the Rockies didn’t appear to have other options.
When Troy Tulowitzki hit the DL with a broken wrist Barmes moved to shortstop while Jonathan Herrera took the duties at second. During this time Barmes picked up his production at the plate by hitting .284/.358/.385. He still wasn’t hitting for much power but at least his on-base percentage was north of .300.
Despite the fantastic all around play of Herrera when Tulo returned in late July Barmes continued to get most of the playing time at second base. His “hot” month earned him more playing time in Tracy’s eye. Barmes rewarded the team by hitting .176/.230/.206 from July 29th through the end of August.
Going into September Barmes was nothing more than a late inning defensive replacement. From August 22nd until the end of the season Barmes would enter 25 games but would start only four of them.
Both guys are a part of “Generation R”. Along with Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe, this generation needs to be shuttled out of Denver. Iannetta and Barmes were given an opportunity to grab hold of starting positions in 2011 and let guys who started the year behind them on the depth chart outshine them.
It is highly unlikely we see either of these two guys in Rockies uniforms in 2011.
10 part series: Rockies 2010 post mortem
— Ubaldo, Tulo, Cargo: October 5th, 2010
— Mora, Herrera
— Belisle, Betancourt
— Hammel/Olivo pre All-Star break
— Injuries: October 4th, 2010
— Helton, Smith/Hawpe: October 6th, 2010
— Barmes, Ianneta: October 8th, 2010
— Morales, Corpas, Cook
— Bullpen in September
— Hammel/Ovlivo post All-Star break
More from Travis Lay
— Playoff coverage: Who pitched better? Halladay or Lincecum? And the Twins should stop crying
— The Rockies are accused of cheating, again
— The ebb and flow of Tulo’s season, in graphical form, by total bases
— My 2010 division series predictions
— Comparing the final 2 weeks of 2007 to the final 2 weeks of 2010