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Dan O’Dowd Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today Brendan Bianowicz updates the GM Trade History series for the NL West. You can download the info-packed Excel spreadsheets below.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post has the Rockies hot stove chatter; let's take a look.
- GM Dan O'Dowd explained that, "There is a difference between listening and attempting to move a player." Brad Hawpe falls squarely into the "listening" category. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports say the Rockies would probably seek a right-handed hitting outfielder and a reliever for Hawpe.
- New contracts for O'Dowd and manager Jim Tracy are still pending a few small details.
- The Rockies are trying to trade Garrett Atkins. If and when they fail, they'll release him. So rather than wait until the December 12th non-tender deadline, Atkins should join the free agent ranks by November 20th at the latest. The Rangers have "moderate interest" in Atkins, according to Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News.
- The Rockies will attempt to sign arbitration-eligible players Clint Barmes and Huston Street to multiyear deals, but if that doesn't work they'll simply get one-year contracts.
- Catcher Paul Phillips who had 54 plate appearances with the big club this year, is expected to be designated for assignment re-signed to a minor league deal to create 40-man roster space.
- Click here to read Monday's Rockies rumors.
According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies are close to agreement on a three-year contract with manager Jim Tracy.
The Rox are expected to hold off on announcing the deal until the World Series has ended. Tracy led the club to a 74-42 record and the NL Wild Card after taking over for Clint Hurdle in late May. He has a 636-616 lifetime managerial record in stints with the Dodgers, Pirates, and now Colorado. GM Dan O'Dowd is expected to receive a similar three-year deal.
Links for Tuesday…
- Chat today, 2pm CST.
- The Hanshin Tigers are interested in Kenji Johjima, according to Kyodo News.
- The Rockies are expected to re-sign GM Dan O'Dowd and manager Jim Tracy this week, according to Patrick Saunders and Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times says the Dodgers "are mindful that [signing Yusei Kikuchi] could harm the club's long-standing ties in Japan." Kikuchi told Kyodo News that interviewing with 12 NPB and eight MLB clubs made his decision even more difficult. NPB Tracker has more.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle says Brad Lidge for Michael Bourn has been "the perfect trade." In that November 2007 deal, the Phillies also received infielder Eric Bruntlett and the Astros also acquired Geoff Geary and Mike Costanzo (Geary is now a free agent). I'd say the Astros may ultimately win the deal if Bourn's breakout season holds up, since they gave up one year of Lidge for five of Bourn. But, as Justice noted, the Phillies have a ring.
- Always fun…Dave Cameron's 2010 offseason plan for the Mariners at U.S.S. Mariner. My one beef is the John Danks acquisition…I don't think it fits from Chicago's point of view.
- Viva El Birdos takes a look at the Cardinals' 2010 commitments.
- MLB.com's Mychael Urban discusses Justin Duchscherer's future.