Go ahead and add "managing expectations" to the increasingly expansive list of things the Colorado Rockies are bad at.
Addressing a group of fans Saturday morning at a community event, Rockies owner Dick Monfort dismissed his club's calamitous 2019 season as a one-off, likening it to the disappointing 2008 campaign that was sandwiched between two prosperous years before announcing that, according to math, his team will win a franchise-record 94 games this year.
"In '08, with basically the exact same team (as '07), we won 74 games and lost 88," Monfort said, per Kyle Newman of the Denver Post. "But like a great American hero, Forrest Gump, once said, '(Stuff) happens.' And that's what happened in '08, because in '09, we won 92 and lost 70. Most of the people I talk to that were on those teams say the '09 team was our greatest team.
"I interpolated '07, '08, and '09 - I had an analytical staff go through and interpolate those numbers - and so in 2020, we’ll win 94 games and lose 68."
This is, of course, insane, the speciousness of that analysis self-evident. (And, as a general rule, burnishing your points with "Forrest Gump" references doesn't help your credibility.) So, while it shouldn't need to be said, I'm going to say it, anyway: the Colorado Rockies will most definitely not win 94 games in 2020, because they're bad, and to suggest otherwise is ludicrous.
Look, full disclosure: I wasn't at this event. I can't say whether Monfort was being glib or not, or if he gave some non-verbal indication to the crowd that his words weren't to be taken seriously.
Still, facetious or not, promising a historically successful season in the wake of a 71-91 campaign - and at the end of an offseason in which his front office spent literally zero dollars on major-league free agents - amounts to yet another gaffe by an organization seemingly looking for ways to embarrass itself.
At best, Monfort was being irresponsible in his optimism. At worst, he was being grossly disingenuous, forecasting a 23-win improvement by a club that couldn't hit or pitch in 2019 and made no meaningful improvements to its roster over the last three months. Regardless, Monfort comes across as a putz, embodying the broader ethos of incompetence that has come to define the Rockies.
In fact, the last half-decade has shown the Rockies' ineptitude can manifest anytime, anywhere. Remember when they torpedoed their relationship with franchise icon Troy Tulowitzki, who vowed in 2016 that he would "never talk to those people" again after they lied "straight to (his) face"? (Tulowitzki, who was unexpectedly shipped to Toronto ahead of the 2015 trade deadline, said the Rockies had promised to keep him apprised should his name come up in trade talks; apparently, they did not.)
Or remember that time the Rockies signed Ian Desmond, a shortstop, to a five-year, $70-million contract to play left field? Or was it first base? It doesn't matter. Desmond's tenure in Colorado has been an unmitigated disaster, with the miscast middle infielder - whose 100 OPS+ through the first eight years of his career made it abundantly clear he wouldn't profile well at a bat-first position - accruing -1.7 WAR through his first three seasons with the Rockies.
Or how about that Mike Tauchman trade? Last spring, less than a week out from Opening Day, the Rockies dealt Tauchman, an unheralded outfielder who nevertheless had a minor-league option remaining, for a left-handed reliever despite David Dahl's famous fragility and the dearth of viable options for their third outfield spot. This, too, blew up in the Rockies' faces: Tauchman enjoyed a breakout season with the Yankees, putting up an .865 OPS (128 OPS+) and 2.6 WAR in 87 games, while Colorado received a combined -1.4 WAR from its outfielders not named Dahl or Charlie Blackmon.
And, of course, they managed to alienate their best player this offseason, too, very publicly drawing the ire of star third baseman Nolan Arenado - who signed a $260-million extension with the club less than a year ago - over their inactive offseason. In January, Arenado, whose name popped up in trade rumors all winter, said he felt "disrespected" by the club, and, in particular, general manager Jeff Bridich, with whom his relationship remains shot, per Patrick Saunders:
Frustrated and disillusioned by the Rockies’ 71-win season, the Rockies’ all-star third baseman met with general manager Jeff Bridich shortly after the season ended and argued that the team needed to make aggressive moves in the offseason in order to improve. But when Bridich told Arenado that the Rockies were largely going to stand pat this winter, he expressed his displeasure.
The conversation turned confrontational and soured the relationship, according to sources. That relationship has not mended.
Now, in the midst of this spat that's literally rooted in how bad the roster currently is, their owner has promised not only a winning season but a highly competitive one. After all, a 94-win season would almost certainly get the Rockies into the National League wild-card game, if not unseat the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West. (A year ago, the Milwaukee Brewers snuck into the one-game playoff with only 89 regular-season wins.)
Too bad it's a complete fantasy. And while owners are allowed to dream, a savvy one probably wouldn't cast his, publicly, as a legitimate projection.
Clearly, though, "savvy" isn't really how the Rockies operate.
Jonah Birenbaum is theScore's senior MLB writer. He steams a good ham. You can find him on Twitter @birenball.