When does the seat start to get hot for the Rockies manager?
886 wins and 942 losses. No, that’s not the number of games that Rockies pitching has blown all-time. It’s not the number of games the Rockies have won in division against the NL West all-time. It’s not even the win-loss record of how many games fans have gotten free tacos by the Rockies scoring seven runs and still blowing the game over the years.
Nope, that number is Rockies manager Bud Black’s all-time record. 886-942, which is a .485 winning percentage.
I’ll be the first to say that I have no problem with Bud Black being the Rockies manager. Has he done some head-scratching moves here and there? Yes, he has. Is he to blame for some of the Rockies struggles this season? Absolutely. Should they move on from Black after this season, though? For right now, I would say no.
But, that overall record, which is his track record as a manager, should put some pressure on him heading into next season with the Rockies.
Prior to this season, the Rockies gave Black a three-year extension. At the time, there was no doubt that it was the right move. Prior to this season, Black had led the Rockies to back-to-back winning seasons and back-to-back seasons in which the Rockies were playoff relevant. So the extension was justified.
A year later, Rockies fans are seeing what the majority of Black’s career has been like. In his 12 years of managing, he’s only has four winning seasons. Two of them were with the Rockies the past couple of seasons. He also is only 1-4 all-time in the playoffs. That’s a .200 winning percentage.
I will give Black some credit that not all of the teams he’s managed have been shiny peaches. Some of those teams didn’t have a lot of talent. So Black does get a little of a pass for his overall winning seasons and playoff record as a manager. At some point, though, your resume does speak to what type of coach/manager you are.
That is why the pressure should be turned up on Bud Black in 2020.
This season, Black hasn’t been given the greatest hand of cards. But you can also say that it wasn’t the worst hand, either.
The Rockies bullpen being terrible, along with the teams lack of starting pitching depth, would handcuff a lot of managers. That is why Bud Black probably will get a pass this year from Rockies management.
Plus, as I stated above, Black has enjoyed two winning seasons with the Rockies.
On the other hand, we can’t completely dismiss this year as “Oh shucks, Jeff Bridich didn’t do a great job setting Bud Black up.” I would also argue that being given one of the top five or 10 players in all of baseball with Nolan Arenado, along with All-Stars like Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story, would be a selling point for a lot of general managers in the league. You mix that with some other young talent and a veteran first baseman and most general managers would say that you have to be better than .500.
I know baseball isn’t like the NBA, where individual stars can lift whole teams up (I mean, just look at Mike Trout with the Angels). But it’s also dismissive to say that teams shouldn’t win when they have one of the top players of their game on the roster.
Once again, I’m not saying Black should be let go. After all, he has done a good job for the most part with the Rockies in 2017 and ’18. But another season like this one in 2019 could force the team to go in another direction in the middle or end of the 2020 season.
It’s the reason why Black needs to really make sure he’s putting the right team together in 2020 on his lineup card every night. Games earlier this season where Black would leave a young player like Brendan Rodgers out of his lineup shouldn’t be a thing we see in 2020. We should also see Black really put his foot down and say, “I’m not going to play Daniel Murphy tonight because he doesn’t give us the best chance to win.”
Another way Black can help himself is to be active in Bridich’s ear this offseason. He should be going to the general manager every day demanding that the team make a big bullpen move or even just a big move in general this offseason to help him win on the field. After all, a big part of this scenario of how Black fares in 2020 is going to be the talent he has on the field. At the end of the day, Black can’t force his boss to make a trade. But if he wants to find more success next season, it should be something he invests in. Knowing how old-school managers like Black work, I have no doubt that he is doing this.
Overall, is there one area of the Rockies that can be blamed for the bad season the team has endured? I mean, maybe there’s a couple areas that stick out more than others. One of those probably isn’t manager Bud Black. But, when you’re the leader of your team, you better start to win or the general manager will look for other options that make sense for the team.