Monday, November 25, 2013

Dan O'Dowd blames anyone but himself for the failures of the Colorado Rockies

Dan O'Dowd doesn't get it. Plain and simple.
Let the annual offseason excuse-tour begin.

In case you missed it, Dave Kreiger, formerly of the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post, and currently co-hosting The Dave Logan Show on 850 KOA, had a sit down with Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd to discuss the happenings at 20th & Blake.

To summarize, O'Dowd pointed to his efforts to sign free agents, including Brian McCann, who signed a massive deal with the Yankees, and Carlos Ruiz, who re-signed with the Phillies for three years.

O'Dowd believes that Drew Pomeranz and Alex White didn't work out because they were rushed to the big leagues, so he won't do that with the clubs two top prospects, Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler. Both of those players will start the year in Double-A.

Perhaps the greatest revelation was the intense desire to move Dexter Fowler. As has been the case in the past, when O'Dowd is done with a player, he doesn't talk about their baseball skills needing improvement, or what they could do to be a better player, he rips on their character. Sharp words are thrown in Fowler's direction in Kreiger's piece.

Kreiger asks O'Dowd about the center field vacancy if Fowler is dealt, and it is quickly pointed out that the reason that Carlos Gonzalez was moved to left field was to keep him healthy. Since that hasn't worked, the team may as well move him to center field.

O'Dowd also believes that Christian Friedrich is one of the keys to the Rockies rotation being a good one. His back injury caused him to miss the entire 2013 season, but O'Dowd liked what he saw in his short 2012 stint and thinks he will be a factor.

 For the cynical Rockies fan, it is yet another example of why O'Dowd needs to be removed from his perch. It is time for serious change in the front office at Coors Field. The reason isn't because O'Dowd is a bad guy, instead, it is simply because O'Dowd can't see the forest through the trees.

The piece seems to point out frustration that the club made offers to McCann and Ruiz, but were spurned by the bigger market teams with more financial resources. However, what O'Dowd has failed to realize is that the club that he has built, the one that he has spent hours making excuses about, simply isn't a desirable location anymore.

Colorado is picturesque and Coors Field is a great place for a hitter to spend 81 games per season, but free agents aren't going to pick the Rockies without a significant reason. That reason is money. The Yankees and Phillies both likely overspent on their acquisitions, probably significantly. So their bids were bigger than the Rockies. What O'Dowd doesn't see is that the culture he has created, one of consistent losing and excuse making, means that for a free agent to willingly choose the Rockies, two factors have to come into play.

The first is what comes into play with nearly every free agent the Rockies sign. Simply stated, that player has no other Major League teams willing to guarantee them a contract. None. If the Rockies go up against another team, that team wins.

Second, and this one happens very infrequently, the Rockies have to significantly out-bid any other team. They have to overpay a free agent by so much that the challenge of being part of a re-build is alright because the wallet is significantly fatter. That was the case with Michael Cuddyer.

If the Rockies wanted to sign McCann, they were going to have to outbid the Yankees, and not by a million dollars, by significantly more than that.

The Fowler comments might be the primary reason O'Dowd should be fired. Why on earth would a general manager tell a member of the media all of the bad things about a player that he is trying to trade? He said in the piece "we are more than willing to listen to offers on Dexter. He has a lot to prove in this industry."

Go to a car dealership and ask about the 2010 Honda Accord on the lot. What is the sales person going to say? They are going to tell you that they are willing to sell the car, but that it is the nicest used car they have seen in a long time. They are going to talk about how few miles are on it, how little work has had to be done and how the previous owner took such good care of it.

They certainly aren't going to publicly tell a potential buyer that the oil wasn't ever changed and the owner smoked two packs of cigarettes per day in it. They aren't going to mention that it only starts up when it feels like it.

If the salesperson did say that, what car buyer would be willing to pay full price for that car? The answer is simple. None.

The idea of Rosario in right field is laughable. Even the most ardent Rosario backers know that he still has a long way to go to even be a decent big league catcher. However, putting him in right field at Coors Field should also come with a guarantee that circus music will play every time there is anything more than a routine pop fly to right.

Imagine a Rockies defense with Cuddyer at first base and Rosario in right. The justifications that O'Dowd tries to make in regards to the roster that he built have become so out of whack that the rest of the baseball world must be looking at the Rockies the same way your family will be looking at that crazy uncle on Thanksgiving day.

O'Dowd comes across candidly when he says that the Rockies still are a long way from winning a pennant. It sounds refreshing at first to hear a member of the front office talk about this team in reality. However, O'Dowd isn't trying to be honest. In this situation he is simply buying himself another year. He is once again lowering the expectations that, even if everyone stays healthy, this team should hover around .500 in 2014. So what happens if they do better than that? Well, O'Dowd got a team to over perform their talent level and deserves an extension. If they play right around .500, O'Dowd was right and he needs another year to get to the next level. His answer was simply covering his backside against the weight of expectations.

The fact is, this is a bad time to be a Rockies fan. The ownership is in disarray and because of that, there is no one to hold O'Dowd accountable, and his continued incompetence will leave the Rockies as the laughingstock of Major League Baseball.

Follow me on Twitter @RockiesReview. Like me on Facebook, search "Rockies Review"


  1. The real issue with the Rockies is not the small market size - but ownership meddling - and an incompetent GM. Let's shoot some holes in the market size "theory" that is constantly used to mask the Rockies front office stupidity:

    Below is a comparison of the Rockies population and market size:
    The Rockies are #21 of all MLB teams in terms of population size, and #20 in Market size (the value of the market in terms of broadcast dollars). The Rockies finished in dead last 74-88 for the 2nd year in a row (they finished in second-to-last place in 2011), under new, first-year manager Walt Weiss.

    Now let's consider other teams around the Rockies in terms of population and market size, and perhaps a clear picture begins to emerge of where the problem really is:

    Consider the Tampa Bay Rays, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland A's:

    Tampa Bay is ranked #19 in population size (2,747,272) and #28 in Market Size (Size of the TV Market in terms of reach and $$). The team played Boston in the ALCS, and fields a perennial winner each season with personnel developed in their farm system.

    Pittsburgh Pirates are ranked #22 in population size (2,354,957) and ranked the same (#22) in Market Size. The Pirates played St. Louis for the NLCS and perhaps may have been considered the better Team. Andrew McCutchen, center fielder (and their own farm system developed talent) was 2013's NL MVP.

    Oakland A's are the template of how an MLB organization in a small market competes against the big market teams of NY, Texas, and LA. Although the A's are ranked #14 in population size (4,317,853), their Market is very small (#29). They do however, understand their place in all of baseball, and leverage their farm system, and under-valued players the rest of the league has cast-off, to successfully compete. They have a visionary GM, and excellent coach in Bob Melvin that make their model work for the fans of Oakland (Yes-I said it-they play for the fans). Oh, BTW, the A's lost in the League Division Series to the Detroit Tigers (pop. size #12, and market size #12) this year - after going 96-66 for the season.

    Cleveland Indians (yes-the Cleveland Indians) are #24 in population size and #21 in Market Size. Much like Boston this year, they too, had a new manager in Terry Francona, and finished the season at 92-70, which is a dramatic turnaround from their dismal second-to-last-place finish (68-94) the year before. The Indians - under Francona - lost to Tampa Bay in the ALWC (American League Wild Card game).

    As you may see, the Rockies performance is not due to small market constraints - but an incompetant GM with a small mind and meddling ownership (the Monforts).

    Money does not often buy Baseball Intelligence - and the Rockies front office is at best - MLB's 2013 puppy-mill of ignorance winner!

    It's high-time (rocky mountain high-time) for Rockies fans to take a stand: O'Dowd (and the Monforts) must go - and fans needs to use every form of personal restraint to not purchase a ticket until changes are made: The Rockies don't care about you, the Fan-they care only about your money. BTW, I don't mean to post this anonymously, but their are no options to post to my Facebook account or other.

  2. This article is right on in saying the reputation of the Rockies is finally catching up with them. The Rockies have come in last place the last two years and have a pitching limit.....that's all that needs to be said. Why would a big free agent want to put himself in a position to lose without being overpaid to do it? Until the Rockies show they can win we will have to rely on the mediocre talent coming from our farm system.

  3. Let me get this straight Mr. Martin. Are you suggesting that smoking 2 packs a day in your car devalues it's worth? What a silly statement. I hate new car smell and work diligently on perfecting that wonderful aroma of the Phillip Morris factory fragrance smacking me in the face as I open my truck doors.I tend to think just the opposite. It actually increases the value as it makes it a rare model that takes months to break in and you have done the work for the new owner.I have spent the last 42 years of my life creating the perfect cologne that permeates of my body and out my pores. Most chicks dig the smell of Marlboro Lights and stale Scotch. What girl in her right mind wouldn't?

    1. What is your intention? Just to be sic and/or to be facetious?

  4. Mr Martin,
    You wrote a very good article that is insightful. The Rockies org is all about making money without care of the product that they place on the field. They spent how much for the party deck at Coors Field? I disclaim the Rockies as my team. As long as the Monforts' own the team and keep the inept management team of O'Dowd and Geivet - this team will NEVER improve.

    A note to Michael Davis - What is your intention? Just to be sic and/or facetious?

  5. So cool Mr Martin to get an uppity woman with a big mouth that spells In slang. We need more of them in the world!!!!! You act like the reason you don't go to the game is due to this special deck you speak of. The truth is no one and I mean no one cares what you think. The reason you don't go to games is because your boyfriend can't afford the grande nachos you order. Grow up and lose weight!!!! And just because you order a diet Coke with those nachos does not constitute a diet, Sell it to your fatties in my big gut anonymous all you want. No one else is buying it fatty!