Dan O’Dowd Rumors

Early Notes On The Mariners’ GM Search

Earlier today, the Mariners announced that they’ve dismissed GM Jack Zduriencik. Assistant GM Jeff Kingston will serve as GM on an interim basis as the Mariners look for a new GM. Here are some takeaways from president Kevin Mather’s press conference with the Seattle media and comments/rumors on the search for a new GM…

  • Mather will begin his search immediately and hopes to have a new GM in place by early October, tweets MLB.com’s Greg Johns. He plans to spend the month of September looking at and interviewing candidates.
  • Mather’s preference is to hire an experienced general manager, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. He will handle the search personally, Divish adds, and he specifically referenced that he doesn’t want to waste the remaining prime years of Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz while a new GM learns on the job for an offseason or two. Meanwhile, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets that Mather will not wait for candidates that aren’t able to interview until after the postseason; he does not want to wait that long to have a new top decision-maker in place.
  • Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN tweets that Mather spoke to manager Lloyd McClendon and expressed full confidence in him, telling his skipper, “at the end of the day, you will work for [the] new GM.” It appears (particularly in light of his later comments) that Mather meant those words as an indication that McClendon’s fate will ultimately be determined by the organization’s new hire, rather than as an assurance of job security.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Mariners have already been quietly reaching out to potential GM candidates. Former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd is one exec to whom Seattle has spoken. O’Dowd’s name has also come up in connection to the Red Sox’ GM opening.
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes that former Marlins GM Larry Beinfest, who is looking to return to a front office, first broke in with the Mariners (Twitter links). Other names that have been speculatively linked to the Mariners include Rangers AGM Thad Levine, former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, Indians AGM Mike Chernoff and Yankees AGM Billy Eppler, he adds.
  • Zduriencik’s final move as GM was to option Mike Zunino to Triple-A, tweets Drayer. Zduriencik said the demotion was in Zunino’s best interest. “Just a breather, a break,” Zduriencik explained. “We would have liked to have done it sooner.” Zunino, of course, will likely be back before too long. Rosters expand on Sept. 1, and the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate will see its regular season close on Sept. 7. In the meantime, John Hicks will be promoted and make his Major League debut.

Front Office Notes: Dombrowski, Sox GM, Dipoto, Brewers

Following a 45-minute introductory press conference for new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald provided a rundown with some highlights. Dombrowski was blunt in stating that the Red Sox need to find some pitching, specifically stating his affinity for power arms. He also noted that a top-of-the-rotation arm is something he’d prefer to bring into to the fold. “Normally, if you’re going to have a world championship club, you need to have a No. 1 type of guy,” Dombrowski explained. He also addressed the team’s GM search. When asked about why he needs a general manager, when it’ll be Dombrowski who has the final say, the veteran executive replied, “This is a big market. There’s a lot going on, day in and day out. We have a lot of expenditure at the major-league level, pursue talent aggressively all over the globe. I think if you get the right person on board with you, if you can get that person and be in sync with them, that can only be helpful.” Dombrowski also touched on his familiarity with analytics as well as the fact that he doesn’t necessarily feel the need to make sweeping changes to a front office that already has “a lot of good people” with “good reputation.

A few more front office notes from around the league…

  • After speaking with multiple industry sources, Sean McAdam of CSN New England writes that four candidates for the Red Sox’ GM opening include former Braves GM Frank Wren, former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd, former Angels GM/current Red Sox advisor Jerry Dipoto and Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler. Wren has been oft-mentioned in the past few days, and O’Dowd has also popped up more recently in reports. Regarding Eppler, McAdam writes that he’s blocked in New York by Brian Cashman, and many expect him to land a GM job elsewhere this winter.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke to one rival executive who said he would be “shocked” if the Dombrowski hired anyone other than Wren to serve as his new general manager (Twitter link). Of course, in the above-linked piece from Lauber, he writes that Dombrowski is in the early stages of compiling a list of candidates, and the Sox have assured the commissioner’s office that they’ll be interviewing minority candidates in their search.
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links) that there’s some industry buzz that Dipoto is on the Brewers’ radar as they look for a new GM. Milwaukee is said to be looking for a younger, more analytical general manager following Doug Melvin’s announcement that he’ll transition to an advisory role. Crasnick also notes that there’s some speculation that Cherington would be a good fit for Milwaukee’s GM vacancy.

More Reactions To The Dombrowski/Cherington Shakeup

Earlier today, Jeff Todd rounded up some reactions from around the industry to the Red Sox’ franchise-altering decision to name Dave Dombrowski president of baseball operations and the subsequent resignation of GM Ben Cherington. There’s still plenty of buzz surrounding this move, however, so here are some additional reactions to one of the most impactful headlines of the summer…

  • Cherington’s decision to step aside after the hiring of Dombrowski caught the Red Sox by surprise, sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Passan adds that he, too, hears that Dombrowski will hire a new GM, with not only Frank Wren serving as a possibility (as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported last night), but also former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd. From a bigger-picture perspective, Passan writes that Dombrowski’s success will be determined, to some extent, by the freedom he is given to make decisions without interference from ownership. Passan notes that Dombrowski inherits one of the best situations in baseball — a top-rated farm system with a young core in place at the Major League level. Of course, he’ll also have some work to do with the pitching staff and the albatross contracts of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.
  • Outgoing team president Larry Lucchino appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show today, and WEEI’s Judy Cohen has transcribed many of his comments. Most notably, Lucchino said that he expects “significant changes” in the baseball operations department, as Dombrowski may look to import members of the network of people he’s worked with over the life of his career. Lucchino offered strong praise for the work that Cherington did: “Ben has done a marvelous job, in my opinion. He is a terrific guy, and I think he’s built an organization that will serve Dave Dombrowski quite well in the months and years ahead, and so things will change.”
  • COO/vice president Sam Kennedy also weighed in on the move on WEEI (also via Cohen). Kennedy said that he, owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner felt “disappointment” that Cherington didn’t want to remain on board, but ultimately they understood that the now-former GM felt a “clean break” was in his best interest. Kennedy addressed the difference between Dombrowski’s more traditional scouting background and the Sox’ recent analytical tendencies, noting that data/analytics, traditional scouting, the eye test and keen instincts are all important to success in baseball operations, and the Sox look forward to a blend of those elements.
  • Alex Speier of the Boston Globe attempts to define Cherington’s tenure as GM of the Red Sox. Cherington, Speier notes, never allowed himself to be concerned with his own job security despite a firm belief that he was accountable for the entire front office in difficult times. Cherington, one source told Speier, was so committed to positioning the Sox for success that he was “100 percent” responsible for the hiring of Jerry Dipoto as a consultant. However, Cherington felt that the philosophical differences between him and Dombrowski would introduce an ideological tension that could have been detrimental to the organization. Cherington, according to Speier, could have stuck around at least through the end of the 2016 season, when his contract was scheduled to expire.
  • At today’s exit press conference, Cherington told reporters, including the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, that the first he heard of the Sox’ interest in Dombrowski was this past Saturday. Said Cherington: “I was in my office and he came and let me know that he and Tom [Werner] were pursuing Dave for this role. That was the first I had heard of it. Yesterday I was told they had an agreement.” Cherington was caught off guard, as he’d believed his conversations with Henry and ownership had been open, honest and productive. Henry, on the other hand, maintains that he first spoke to Cherington about the pursuit of Dombrowski as early as Aug. 4. Cherington offered nothing but praise for Dombrowski, stating that he has “great respect” for an executive whose resume speaks for itself and will be “an asset, clearly,” going forward for the Red Sox.
  • Cherington will be paid for the remainder of his contract despite stepping down, a source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford (Twitter link).
  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe breaks down the new Red Sox chain of command in the wake of Lucchino’s impending departure and the changes on the baseball operations side of the hierarchy.
  • ESPN’s Jim Bowden writes 10 things that we can expect from the Red Sox now that Dombrowski is in charge of baseball operations. The most significant note, from a roster standpoint, is that Bowden expects the Red Sox to actively pursue the market’s top free agent pitchers, including David Price, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann, with Price topping the team’s wish list. He also notes that we should expect Dombrowski to part with some of the team’s elite young talent in order to add a second top pitcher with some team control.


O’Dowd Declined Rockies’ Extension Offer Before Resigning

Before resigning yesterday from his long-time post as general manager of the Rockies, Dan O’Dowd declined an offer of a multi-year extension from the team, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby reports. The offer, in fact, was made just last week, according to Ringolsby.

Needless to say, this report puts a new spin on the club’s surprising decision yesterday to promote Jeff Bridich to the GM role without undergoing any publicly-reported hiring process. Colorado also announced yesterday that O’Dowd and fellow key baseball decisionmaker Bill Geivett would be leaving the organization.

Ringolsby says that O’Dowd was not pleased with the power-sharing structure that emerged after a front office shakeup in 2012. Though O’Dowd retained the GM title, Geivett — whose title was senior VP of major league operations — kept an office in the clubhouse and was charged with running the major league club.

In yesterday’s press conference announcing the hiring (story via Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post), team owner Dick Monfort said he was “excited about a fresh start.” But he did not offer substantive comments about how the changing of the guard came about, and was not made available for questions from the media. (Note that the Rockies do not presently employ a team president.)

Today’s news regarding O’Dowd also seemingly makes sense of recent reports that suggested no major changes were afoot in Colorado. But it raises yet more questions about what manner of authority Bridich will have in his new role, with Monfort having come under fire from internal sources for inserting himself into baseball decisionmaking. While Bridich is by all accounts a well-regarded young executive, it remains to be seen — as Paul Klee of the Colorado Springs Gazette explains — what kind of decisionmaking structure Monfort will set up around him.


Bridich Named Rockies GM; O’Dowd, Geivett Resign

The Rockies have announced an unexpected front office shakeup, but will apparently not be making any upper-level additions from outside the organization for the time being. General manager Dan O’Dowd and senior VP of major league operations Bill Geivett — long the team’s brain trust — have resigned from their posts, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter.

Bridich1

In their place, Jeff Bridich has been promoted to the general manager seat after previously serving as senior director of player development, as initially reported by MLB.com’s Thomas Harding (via Twitter). While a young, fresh voice at the highest tier of baseball operations offers the hope of jumpstarting an idling franchise, it remains to be seen whether new operating philosophies and improved results will follow.

Colorado now becomes the third NL West organization in recent months to find a new GM, though both of their division rivals underwent broad external searches to find their new leadership. The Padres replaced Josh Byrnes with former Rangers executive A.J. Preller, while the Diamondbacks displaced Kevin Towers in favor of player agent Dave Stewart.

O’Dowd had been ensconced atop Colorado’s baseball decisionmaking structure since the fall of 1999, when he was hired as the club’s general manager. Many of the team’s highs and lows have come under his watch. The failed signings of Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton were early mistakes, but O’Dowd put together the talent that led the Rockies to deep postseason runs in 2007 and 2009. Ultimately, though, the club posted winning seasons in only four out of fifteen seasons under O’Dowd.

That less-than-inspiring track record provided the impetus for a front office restructuring in 2012. Though O’Dowd retain his general manager title and position atop the authority structure, he ceded some authority to Geivett, who had joined the Rockies in 2000. As his title reflects, Geivett was placed in charge of running the club at the major league level. Indeed, he made his office in a room adjoining the clubhouse, a situation which seemingly led to some tension. Though it is somewhat difficult to know where to assign credit and blame, the club had a hit-or-miss record on recent trades and signings. The Justin Morneau deal, for example, has already been a clear win, while the Boone Logan signing looks worse now than it did when inked.

Ultimately, the move represents a shift from a recent report from Harding (and many others before it) that made significant change seem unlikely. Both Geivett and O’Dowd reported to owner Dick Monfort, who has an extremely active role in the organization, which operates without a president. Monfort did say over the summer that he held Geivett responsible for the team’s performance. But as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reported recently, internal discord has arisen over (among other things) the level of Monfort’s involvement in baseball decisionmaking.

It remains to be seen what decisionmaking structure and processes the Rockies will employ with Bridich now in the GM seat. He becomes just the third general manager in the club’s history. His predecessor, O’Dowd, had been the fourth-longest-tenured GM in the game.

As Harding explains, the 37-year-old had been in charge of the club’s player development system since the fall of 2011 — a role that made him, in the words of Saunders (Twitter link), “O’Dowd’s right-hand man.” Per Harding, Bridich came to Colorado in 2004 as manager of minor league operations. He became senior director of baseball ops in 2006, a role that involved transactional and contractual matters including arbitration. Prior to joining the Rockies, Bridich had a stint in the commissioner’s office after graduating from Harvard, where he played baseball as an undergraduate. Click here for an interesting recent interview with Bridich, regarding his work in player development, from Brian VanderBeek of the Modesto Bee (h/t to Saunders).

Photo courtesy of Brian VanderBeek/The Modesto Bee.


NL West Notes: Lee, Dodgers, Rockies

Cliff Lee will remain a Phillie as the window on the Dodgers' waiver claim closed today. Lee responded by allowing three home runs in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks this afternoon. When asked by Zach Links yesterday, 68% of MLBTR readers thought the Phillies should have let Lee go. But, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com outlines two scenarios explaining why the Phillies held onto Lee. In other news involving teams from the NL West:

  • The Dodgers have been busy wheeling and dealing the past week turning over 20% of their roster with their recent trade acquisitions. Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times writes about how the Dodgers are being forced to mesh and develop its own chemistry in the season’s final two months while battling for a playoff spot.
  • The Rockies rearranged the duties of General Manager Dan O'Dowd and Assistant GM Bill Geivett this past week, but the Denver Post's Troy Renck believes the switch seems convoluted unless it leads to a major overhaul in personnel, especially in the drafting and development of better starting pitching.
  • The Rockies placed struggling left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list with left bicep tendinitis. Sanchez was acquired from the Royals for Jeremy Guthrie last month, but Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area tweets the real get for Colorado was salary relief to the tune of $1.1MM. 

Rockies Restructure Front Office

12:27pm: The Rockies announced the changes, naming Geivett the senior VP of Major League operations (Twitter links). O'Dowd retains the title of executive VP/general manager and will still be the team's chief baseball executive.

12:00pm: The Rockies are expected to announce a restructuring of the front office today, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. Dan O'Dowd will remain the GM but will focus on the minor leagues and player development while assistant GM Bill Geivett receives expanded day-to-day duties with the big league roster.

O'Dowd willl receive assistance from Geivett on the MLB side, according to Renck. Geivett, the Rockies' assistant GM since 2000, will work closely with manager Jim Tracy and continue answering to O’Dowd. For more on Geivett, check out Tim Dierkes’ piece from MLBTR’s 2011 series on potential GM Candidates around MLB.


Rockies Notes: Giambi, O’Dowd, Rotation

The Rockies lead the National League in runs scored, but they've allowed more runs than any NL team and they have a disappointing 25-40 record. Rockies starters have combined for a 6.28 ERA and have allowed a .319/.384/.532 slash line this year. Or to put it another way, facing the Rockies’ rotation turns an ordinary hitter into Matt Holliday (career .313/.386/.538 line). Here are some notes on the Rockies…

  • A Jason Giambi trade can't be ruled out even though the veteran slugger likes playing in Denver and has become a clubhouse leader, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes.
  • Renck notes that it may be time for the Rockies to start thinking of creative ways of preventing runs at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Perhaps an expanded pitching staff for homestands would help the team limit scoring, Renck writes.
  • Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post writes that Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd has "wasted ownership's money on a horrendous team" this year. Jeremy Guthrie needs to go and signing Michael Cuddyer "was a totally unnecessary move," Kiszla writes.
  • Click here for the latest Guthrie rumors.

Rockies Notes: O’Dowd, Moyer, Guthrie, Pitching

Here's the latest about the Rockies as the team opens up a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati….

  • GM Dan O'Dowd tells MLB.com's Thomas Harding that the organization isn't going to make any quick changes based on the club's poor record thus far, including his own job.  "That's human nature: fire the GM….And we're examining our entire process," O'Dowd said.  "We don't stick our heads in the sand, but we make decisions in a calmer way, rather than an emotional way. Hey, I've made them the other way. I've acted the other way in previous years. That doesn't work, either. I've intentionally chosen to act the way I'm acting. I'm all in. No backing out now."
  • Owner Dick Monfort told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post earlier this week that he wasn't going to fire either O'Dowd or manager Jim Tracy.  As part of a live chat with Denver Post readers, Patrick Saunders disagreed with Monfort, saying "if the Rockies' season continues to go south this season, O'Dowd's job should be in jeopardy. There is no way he should be getting a free pass. This is a performance-oriented business."
  • From that same chat, Saunders also said that Jamie Moyer's time in Colorado is running out as the Rockies will want to give their young pitchers a chance in the rotation.  The Denver Post's Troy Renck cited Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Guthrie as midseason trade candidates; Renck would "be surprised if Guthrie is not dealt."
  • The performance of the Rockies' pitching staff, as well as Tracy and O'Dowd's handling of those pitchers, is criticized by Paul Swydan of Fangraphs.  Swydan also recaps the Rockies' poor returns on recent trades.

GM Trade Histories: NL West

Today Brendan Bianowicz updates the GM Trade History series for the NL West.  You can download the info-packed Excel spreadsheets below.