A change in the Rockies management structure – or was it?


Early yesterday morning speculation began that Rockies General Manager Dan O’Dowd had been relieved of his duties. There had been a voicemail leaked from O’Dowd stating that there was going to be a change to the management team. Rumors swirled that indeed O’Dowd was out as GM. Nothing was confirmed until lunchtime when the Rockies presented a press release that instead O’Dowd was going to stay as GM but would focus instead on player development and drafting. Assistant GM Bill Geivett was promoted to senior vice president of baseball operations  and he would take over the day-to-day managing of the big league club.

To say there has been a change in management is wrong. In essence O’Dowd “reassigned himself”. He remains GM and he still has complete oversight as Geivett will report to him. Any changes that Geivett makes has to go through and be approved by O’Dowd. Some people see this new arrangement as having 2 GM’s, like the Rockies 2 pitching coaches (McLaughlin and Wright), and the 4 man rotation/piggy-back pitching system (2 starters per game). Again, this notion is incorrect as O’Dowd has the final say in all baseball matters. He is still the GM of the Colorado Rockies.

Mile High Sports Radio said it best today that this new structure was like re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic. That is accurate. The Rockies have been abysmal this year. Fans have been begging for real change, to make decisions that would improve this club going forward. For a short time yesterday this seemed to be the case, only for the rug to be pulled out again from the fans’ feet.

The Rockies will, barring some remarkable turnaround, lose over 100 games this year for the first time in franchise history. This season has turned into a bunch of excuses – the injuries, the altitude, Coors Field, the humidor, you name it. Not once has management or coaches blamed themselves. Owner Dick Monfort says Dan O’Dowd is the best GM in baseball. O’Dowd says manager Jim Tracy is the best man for the job. Again, Monfort says yesterday after the “reshuffle” that all the pieces are in place, that everything is OK. This team is 37-65. No, things are not OK.

Bill Geivett is a 2 month rental to see how he does with this new power. Will he become the new GM after the season? Is Dan O’Dowd forced out? Who knows? Will he recommend that Jim Tracy is let go? If so, how does Tracy-buddy O’Dowd react? Anyone but O’Dowd would be an improvement however. O’Dowd has said recently that he is “tired” and the job is getting to him. He certainly has run out of ideas to improve this ball club. He has been there for 13 years – he has become stale. What do you do with stale bread? You replace it!

The best decision that can help the Rockies from this mess is to completely replace the management team. O’Dowd, Geivett, and Jim Tracy all need to leave the organization for it to go forward. Only a fresh perspective and new ideas from outsiders completely independent from the Rockies will be the improvement this organization so desperately needs. It needs to be from people from a winning background who are not afraid to make hard decisions. However, with Dick Monfort owning this team this is extremely unlikely to happen. Monfort simply enjoys the money coming in and arguably doesn’t care about winning, despite what he claims. Real change would be the proof, not words.

The simple fact is that the Rockies have had 4 winning seasons out of 13 under O’Dowd. This does not cut it. That is failure. Reassigning people, implementing unproven strategies, promoting from within, and making excuse after excuse has run its course and needs to end now. This is major league baseball, not some jayvee league. However, until the current weak managers running the show are replaced with real managers ready to make real positive decisions, the Rockies will remain bad. Indeed, the Rockies within one year have gone from mediocre, to bad, to boring, to now irrelevant.

How long will they remain irrelevant? That answer remains unsolved, but to get back to relevancy anytime within the next 5 years looks very bleak indeed.