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The Colorado Rockies and Dexter Fowler, or, how to screw up a trade

Let me say from the outset that I did not want the Colorado Rockies to trade Dexter Fowler last off-season. With him coming off a career year, I thought the Rockies would be wise to keep Fowler and reap the benefits of the patience they put into developing him as a big-time talent. As far as the trade market went, however, the Rockies were in about as good a position as they could have hoped for. There was a market for Fowler, he appeared to be a guy who had “gotten over the hump,” and everybody knew that the Rockies loved him.

If there was a time to trade him, that was probably it.

Now he is coming off another down year in his up-and-down career, and one during which he missed significant time with an injury. We have returned to the unknown with Fowler; is he the guy who mashed the ball and was a game-changer in 2012, or is the guy who was inconsistent and generally frustrating pretty much every other year of his career?

Fowler’s trade value is significantly less than it was in 2012. Still, his talent is without question, and his speed, defense, and power potential still make him an attractive trade target. Even if the Rockies missed the chance to sell high one year ago, they can still reasonably trade Fowler for good talent in return (hopefully pitching). They can still sell interested teams on the player they will receive in Fowler, even if for their part they are more motivated to trade him because of his disappointing season.

If there’s a chance you will keep him and certainly if you want to trade him, you would think it’s not hard to look on the bright side with Fowler and talk up his value as a player. You would think.

Enter Dan O’Dowd, who has never had a problem being honest but has plenty of other problems when it comes to talking about the Rockies. When asked about Fowler by Dave Krieger of 850 KOA in Denver, O’Dowd had the following to say:

Well, I think Dexter right now has got a big year in front of him. Whether that’s with us or whether that’s with somebody else at this point in time is too hard to say. I think it’s fair to say we are more willing to listen to calls about Dexter than we might have been in the past. He has a lot to prove this year within the industry. He’s got to show up and he’s got to do that.”

Krieger then pressed O’Dowd and asked if he has been disappointed with Fowler. Regrettably, O’Dowd actually answered the question in the affirmative:

Dexter’s a great kid and he knows that we all feel that way about him. But I think he’s got to get tougher. No doubt. He’s got to show up and play with an edge every day, not just when he thinks he has to. It’s got to be that edge that he brings every day. He’s got to be a passionate competitor in the game. He has to love the game. He’s got to compete because he loves the game and he loves his teammates and he wants to win. It can’t be for anything the game provides. It’s got to be for those reasons.

Sigh…

O’Dowd was also asked if he thinks Fowler will be in Colorado next season. His response:

Like everything else we look at with our players, is there value out there that makes us a better team in the aggregate? So the same process that would go with any player would go with Dexter.

Or, as you see it, is there value out there for a guy who isn’t tough and, in your estimation, might not love baseball and might not play for the right reasons? Are you kidding me?

Hey opposing GMs, I have publicly expressed doubts about this guy’s make-up and character, not to mention that he is maddeningly inconsistent. Soooo….who wants him? Who wants to trade me starting pitching for this guy? Step right up!

Look, I have never been a GM, and maybe the Rockies will get a fine package for Fowler. But between their timing and these ill-considered comments, it sure looks to me like they’ve screwed this up.

Tags: Colorado Rockies Dexter Fowler

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