The Rockies closed July with a 7-17 record for the month and on pace for 102 losses. The end of July saw the Rockies make several changes, both personnel-wise and in the front office. Jeremy Guthrie and Marco Scutaro were traded away, but that was the extent of Dealin’ Dan’s efforts. The front office changes involved restructuring responsibilities without actually adding or removing any of the current staff: Bill Geivett is taking over the personnel decisions for the major league club and O’Dowd is focusing on minor leagues and player development. This week, we discuss if the front office changes will result in any real change and evaluate the results of the trade deadline.
Will the front office changes help Jim Tracy?
Brendan: Apparently Tracy being involved in deciding who gets called up is a major distraction and is taking away from his joy for the game. This move is supposed to “help Tracy focus on lineups and game strategy.” Instead of discussing what type of player needs to be brought up when someone goes on the DL, Tracy will now stare at his lineup card and come up with strategies for double switching in the 5th inning. At this point, the only thing that would help the Rockies’ manager make better game-related decisions would be to have someone other than Tracy making them.
Kevin: It looks like it will give Tracy more information, but whether that helps Jim Tracy remains to be seen. This team is terrible, and it needs all the help it can get. Having more information about players and matchups will certainly give an opportunity to help, but it is far from certain that such information will be put to good use. Tracy makes some questionable moves, and I am not convinced that those moves are a result of information deficiencies.
Ned: This will sound cynical, but anyone other than DOD should be better for the ML team, and consequently better for Jim Tracy. Bill Geivett is virtually unknown to fans, including yours truly. We can only hope that Geivett has not gone to the same school of New Age spirituality that DOD went through. It is very concerning that DOD is to be focused on player development and the minor leagues given the team’s dreadful drafting record over the past twelve years.
True or False? The restructuring threatens O’Dowd’s job security.
Brendan: False. I want to believe that this is the first step to removing him completely, but I think it is O’Dowd positioning himself to side-step the blame. He is now focused on the minor leagues, so if there is a problem with the big league roster it is Geivett’s fault – not O’Dowd’s. His absence from the press conference is a good sign that he may be losing favor within the organization, but I won’t believe it until I see it. Until the Rockies begin to institute REAL change (actually bringing in someone from outside the organization), it is just more of the same old trash for trash exchanges that usually litter the Rockies’ transaction page. Check out this article from 2007. There are a lot of similarities in what the Monforts were saying then compared to now: “we’re doing things differently than other teams”. The miracle that was 2007 was a once in a lifetime experience, but its true cost may be ownership deluding themselves into believing that they know what they are doing.
Kevin: True. Although on the surface it looks like O’Dowd is insulating himself, this restructuring shows weakness. It shows that he is responsible for this embarrassment of a team, and now he is linked to this failure. It obviously shouldn’t require this restructuring to link O’Dowd to this debacle, but the biggest issue with this franchise is that ownership can’t tell their elbows from their rears. Ownership appears to be totally insulated from the world, with little understanding of Big-Four sports franchise ownership. The Monforts have no understanding of what is unacceptable failure, and they have no idea of what ought to be reasonable expectations. Just the other day, Dick Monfort said “I don’t know how 29 other clubs are doing it and really don’t care.” Some people might see this as a rogue trailblazer. I see this as a head-in-the-sand fool who is unwilling to learn from the successes of other franchises. It’s no small wonder how such stubborn and clueless people ever came to operate a multi-million dollar business.
Ned: True. The Monforts’ management style has, to date, been characterized by soft terminations. Moving Bob Apodaca “upstairs” in June to be a special assistant is a recent good example. With a little luck, the restructuring announced last Wednesday represents at least the beginning of the soft termination of DOD. Hopefully soon DOD will become “tired” like Bob Apodaca, and “ask” to be reassigned to a less stressful position—like special assistant to Shirley MacLaine.
Were the trade deadline moves (or lack thereof) a failure?
Brendan: Yes, but not because of July. Failing to acquire any players of substantive value during the offseason directly contributed to the inactivity. Cuddyer’s contract is untradeable (without taking back a large part of the money) and there just isn’t a market for injury prone catchers hitting .200. Parting ways with both Scutaro and Guthrie were good moves, but other trades did not occur mainly due to a lack of real assets. I still cannot believe that neither Betancourt nor Reynolds were shipped out of town, but it is not like they would yield anything of real value in return. It is nice to sit here as a fan and say all these different players should be traded, but reality is that you cannot force another team to take your trash. Teams looking to buy at the deadline are interested in proven commodities, not broken down vets and unproven young players – which, minus a few exceptions, is exactly what the Rockies are. The failure to make more of a splash at the trade deadline is attributable to years of chronic ineptitude in player acquisitions and serves as a good example of why the Rockies are on pace for over 100 losses.
Kevin: No, not a failure. This team clearly was in a position to be a seller, yet they didn’t move many pieces, probably because they aren’t set to lose any valuable pieces at the end of this year. Trading Guthrie was good: the Rockies saved some money and received a decent, but troubled, arm in return. The Scutaro trade was basically a wash. Betancourt and Belisle were probably the only pieces that could have gathered a decent return, and the Rockies do have them under contract for next year, so the Rockies still can trade them in the future. If this team experiences similar struggles next year, it must fire-sale. This team has two superstars in Tulo and CarGo, but the team has massive holes throughout the roster. Tulo and CarGo are so valuable that they could bring in the type of prospect haul that is needed to turn this franchise around.
Ned: The only benefit the Rockies received from the two trades was some small salary relief which helps ownership, but does nothing directly for the team. The team is fortunate, however, to have received anything at all for Guthrie. But having now seen Sanchez several times on the mound for the Rockies, it really does appear that the team got fair consideration since Sanchez is every bit as bad as Guthrie. Although it would have been an unpopular move, moving Rosario and keeping Nieves would have been a very smart move. But, it is likely that every other GM can also see that Rosario is a terrible receiver who is the ruination of any pitching staff.
Have a different take? Let us know in the comments below.
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