Now that the 2012 season has finally come to an end, Rockies fans can begin to forget this horrible season ever happened. We all thought we could start forgetting at the end of the regular season, but things actually got worse. First, we had to watch Seth Smith put the A’s on his back and almost carry them to a first round, come-from-behind victory with game-saving/winning hits in games 3 and 4. At the same time, we watched Jason Hammel put up two good outings against the Yankees, proving yet again how horrible the Jeremy Guthrie trade turned out. Then, we had to endure Marco Scutaro turning into a San Francisco folk hero as he tore up the Cardinals in the NLCS and won MVP honors for the series. As if that wasn’t enough, he had the World Series clinching hit for the Giants proving that it is possible to have fun when Dan O’Dowd isn’t your boss. Finally, since MLB frowns on franchises stealing headlines during the playoffs, we’ve had to put up with the most bizarre manager search in the history of sports. The fact that they are seriously entertaining making Jason Giambi the manager is all you need to know about how dysfunctional the franchise is.
Why bring all of that up again? For all of the crazy, idiotic things that have been well documented over the course of the season, there’s one thing that happened that nobody has talked about and I believe it to be one of the worst cases of incompetence in the reign of O’Dowd – the case of Kevin Slowey.
Many of the deals that went down this year have been talked about ad nauseam. Seth Smith for Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman, Chris Iannetta for Tyler Chatwood, trading for Scutaro only to ship him right back out, the signings of Ramon Hernandez and Michael Cuddyer, the dumping of Ian Stewart for Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu, and, of course, the Guthrie disaster, represent the major transactions that defined 2012. At the time they were being done, these deals made a sort of sense. O’Dowd was trying to rebuild the pitching staff and bring in some veterans to stabilize the roster. It was actually the first coherent plan the man’s had in his entire tenure with the Rockies. In hindsight, it’s easy to skewer him for almost all of these, but we should have known this plan was doomed by looking at what he did with Slowey.
Right around the time all of these trades were going down, O’Dowd traded a player to be named later (a name which I have not been able to find) for Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey. When this happened, I was intrigued because unlike the rest of the slew of arms they were acquiring, I had actually heard of Slowey. A month later, O’Dowd turned around and traded Slowey to Cleveland for Zach Putnam. My immediate reaction to this was, “what the…?” But, like the rest of the fans, I was distracted from this by more player signings and trades and it wasn’t until recently, when I started researching all of the transactions from the season, that I remembered this trade. So I started digging into it and found some very odd things.
The first was that Slowey was immediately optioned to Cleveland’s AAA team and ended up only pitching in 8 games. Looking at his 2011 stats and digging around some more revealed that he had a back injury and has been battling to get back to full health. The second was that the Rockies agreed to pick up almost half of his 2012 salary at $1.25 million. So, that means that O’Dowd traded some random person for another random person (Putnam ended up pitching 2 innings for the Rockies this season) and paid more than a million dollars for another guy not to play for the Rockies. This was made even more ridiculous given the fact the Rockies pitching staff was atrocious and could have used another arm, even if it was broken.
So the question to all of this was why any of this happened at all. If O’Dowd had no intention of keeping him, why trade for him in the first place? On that note, why not keep him since he’s only 28, but a somewhat established starter? Most of all, why trade a nobody to end up with a different nobody and torch $1.25 million at the same time? It’s situations like these that are the real reason O’Dowd should be fired as there is no logic whatsoever. And just to add insult to injury, the Rockies just lost Putnam to a waiver claim by the Cubs. At this point in time, I’m starting to think that O’Dowd isn’t even a real person, but a hamster that just runs around on a keyboard and the Monforts use whatever comes out on the monitor as their plan.
As much as I’d like to tell you this nonsense is over for the next few months, we still have the outcome of the managerial search ahead of us, as well as pondering what on Earth O’Dowd and Bill Geivett were thinking when they placed Josh Roenicke on waivers, losing him almost immediately to a claim by – wait for it – the Twins. Maybe Roenicke was that player to be named later and the hamster strikes again.