Thursday, August 18, 2011

O'Dowd's future may ride on the shoulders of Drew Pomeranz

Look for a Colorado Rockies fan who was happy to see Ubaldo Jimenez depart on July 30th. Try and find one. That type of search will come up empty.

There isn't a Rockies fan who was excited to see their first ace depart so quickly after his breakthrough season.

The prevailing thought from most fans was that the team better not have whiffed on this deal. If the Rockies were going to trade Jimenez, they had better get something incredible back in return.

When the trade was announced and there wasn't a single impact big league player coming back to Colorado who would immediately make an impact on the roster, most fans were frustrated and upset. Everyone has seen prospects fizzle out. To take a chance on dealing Jimenez for guys who may never be impact players is tough to handle.

However, it looks like fans are starting to warm up to the idea of the trade. Especially after the last two nights in Tulsa.

With Drew Pomeranz, the centerpiece of the trade, finally making his Rockies organizational debut on Wednesday night, he quickly showed why the club is in love with him. The lefty did nothing short of carry a perfect game into the seventh inning. He mixed a low-90's fastball with movement in with a change up and slider to keep the Double-A affiliates of the Oakland A's guessing all night long.

On Thursday, it was the other big name that the Rockies got back, Alex White's turn. With a huge start to live up to, White did his own dominating, throwing 7-2/3 innings of shutout baseball. He gave up only three hits while striking out four and walking one.

Sure, it is Double-A, but when the Rockies said it would take a huge deal to pry Jimenez away from them, they meant it.

With the recent failures of the Rockies, many people are calling for General Manager Dan O'Dowd's head. They are saying that he is the mastermind of the farm system, and should never have let it get this depleted. Failed high-level draft picks have marred the current group of prospects, and someone needs to be held responsible.

Well, make no mistake, O'Dowd feels the heat. If he didn't, he never would have taken the chance of dealing away this club's first-ever ace. He knows that he needed to restock the current system with guys who are going to make a big impact at the Major League level right away. Jimenez was the only chip that could bring back two players who are going to be Major League ready within the year.

The move that many think should be the final straw for O'Dowd may in fact be the move that keeps him in the position that he is in for years to come. Without trading Jimenez, it would have been easy to see Rockies ownership taking a look at a team that needs to be torn apart, and a minor league system that is void of Major League ready talent. At that point, it would have been conceivable that they thought it was time to go in a different direction.

However, the trade of Jimenez buys O'Dowd time. He gets two pitchers who look like they are going to be fixtures in the Rockies rotation for the next several years, which buys the general manager time to restock the farm system and gives the younger crop of players time to develop, while still allowing the Major League team to be competitive.

The move was bold to say the least. There is no doubt that if this trade doesn't turn out the exact same way that the Matt Holliday deal turned out for the Rockies, that the man who used to be known as Dealin' Dan is going to be looking for work in a different Major League city.

O'Dowd's career with the Rockies rests on this move, and he had no choice but to make it.

Rockies fans are hoping that for a second time since 2008 that they will be eating their words about O'Dowd and the front office.

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