Thursday, February 18, 2010
It's Zombie Season: Jim Tracy On The 2004 Dodgers
Jim Tracy will go to spring training with a team coming off a post-season berth for the second time in his eight-year managerial career. However, the 2010 Rockies will be a lot different than the 2005 Dodgers.Ah, this takes me way back... he doesn't come out and say it, but is he suggesting that his nucleus was getting older by Paul DePodesta's trading away Paul LoDuca and Guillermo Mota for Brad Penny?
Former GM Paul DePodesta made major changes to the Dodgers after they won the NL West in 2004. The Dodgers fell to 71-91 in 2005 as just 18 of the 43 players who appeared in a game in 2004 remained in the organization. Tracy was fired at the end of the season and has never quite gotten over having his division-winning club dismantled.
"We had a 93-game winner in 2004 and I was really looking forward to coming back with a similar nucleus," Tracy told the Denver Post's Troy E. Renck. "We were young and athletic, just like the team I have now. I walked in the clubhouse that first day of spring training and was shaking hands with three-quarters of the guys because they were all new."
Tracy won't have that problem this time when the Rockies' full squad assembles in Tucson after winning the NL wild card last season. The Rockies return basically intact, with the most significant change being that catcher Yorvit Torrealba left for the Padres as a free agent, which means holdover Chris Iannetta will now see the bulk of the playing time behind the plate.
The biggest change of all is that Tracy is now the man in charge from the beginning of spring training. He was elevated from bench coach last May after the Rockies got off to an 18-28 start then fired manager Clint Hurdle. The Rockies went 74-42 under Tracy before losing to the Phillies in the National League Division Series.
"I am not going to ask the players to do anything in spring training that I won't ask of them in the season," Tracy said. "That's the key with all of our players. There won't be any kind of surprises. They will know what I expect of them."