|Reports say that Dan O'Dowd is out as Rockies GM.|
Lindahl reported on his show that Rich "G-Man" Goins, famous for spending 33 days on a billboard in Denver in 1990 during a Broncos losing streak, has said that the Rockies have relieved O'Dowd of his duties and reassigned him within the organization.
If the report is true, the Rockies would be embarking down a new path for the first time in 13 long seasons. In a sports world that is notoriously impatient, the Rockies have been the benchmark of patience throughout the O'Dowd era.
O'Dowd came in and immediately stirred the pot. In the fall of 1999 he shipped off fan favorite and original Rockie Dante Bichette to the Cincinnati Reds for extremely talented, yet extremely raw outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds.
That move began a bitter relationship with the fans that changed only briefly the following offseason when O'Dowd shocked the baseball world by outbidding the New York Mets and signing highly-coveted left handed starter Mike Hampton. The deal was for a then-record $128 million over seven seasons.
Before the euphoria from Rockies fans had worn off that they were actually able to sign a big-name free agent, word came down that the Rockies had also pulled out the check book for another lefty starter, Denny Neagle. The former Yankee was coming off a World Series championship and looked to help the Rockies do the same. He signed a five-year, $55 million deal to land in purple pinstripes.
Everyone knows how both of those deals turned out. Despite the failures, however, O'Dowd kept his job, selling ownership on the idea of a build-from-within mindset. This would mean some bad years as the Rockies put together band-aid teams while building up a farm system that would need time to go through the development process.
Fans were livid. For years the Rockies were cellar-dwellers in the National League West. It was all part of the plan, however, for O'Dowd, who had an uncanny ability to see deep into the future, and also convince his bosses to do the same as well.
The decision suddenly paid off. A lovable group of young Rockies suddenly went from a good little group of ballplayers, to a World Series in a matter of six weeks. Everything came together at once, and the team caught fire, winning 21-of-22 games, including a dramatic do-or-die play in game against the Padres that lasted 13 innings.
In the afterglow, the Rockies watched passion for baseball and the team grow. However, in the spring of 2008, perhaps due to the heavy expectations of defending a National League pennant, the Rockies fell flat on their faces and finished closer to their early 2000's records than that of a playoff contender.
The team headed into 2009 with their success in '07 officially branded a fluke. On top of that, O'Dowd re-sparked anger when he dealt '07 hero Matt Holliday to the Oakland A's for a struggling closer in Huston Street and a prospect that might not make it in Carlos Gonzalez, along with throw-in Greg Smith.
The trade proved to be a huge success as both of the main pieces helped the Rockies back to the playoffs in '09, climbing back from another huge hole.
Feelings in Colorado were never higher for O'Dowd than the winter before the 2011 season. Against all odds, and spitting in the face of those who called the Rockies cheap, O'Dowd pulled off a huge upset and not only locked down Troy Tulowitzki for 10 years, but convinced Scott Boras client Carlos Gonzalez to sign into his free agency as well.
With the failures of the 2011 and now 2012 teams, O'Dowd's clock was ticking. The overall picture was looking more and more bleak. In 13 seasons he had made the postseason just twice, and an analysis of the farm system would suggest that he had let things get out of hand for a couple of years before realizing that the talent had been depleted.
Of course, at this point, there is yet to be confirmation that the move has been made. However, sources are reporting that O'Dowd had told close friends on Tuesday that he thought the move was going to be made, but that it was a surprise that it came so soon.
If indeed the O'Dowd era is over, it comes at a good time. Instead of waiting for 2012 to end, the Rockies can move forward and begin to start the turnover process. It gives them a two month jump start to evaluate talent in the minor leagues, shed salary, and decide if a complete overhaul is necessary.
Instead of starting when in the offseason, the Rockies ownership will have a chance to see Bill Geivett, the presumed interim GM in action. They will be able to see if he can quickly lay out plans and begin executing them. It will give them an idea if he is their guy, or if someone else from outside the organization needs to be brought in.
More information should come as Wednesday progresses.
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