The handshake deal.
The discussion about the performance of the Colorado Rockies in the 2012 season keeps reverting to the handshake deal between Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy. Was it a clever strategy to help Tracy relax and manage some wins, or did O'Dowd really think Jim Tracy had shown enough to warrant an extension?
As the Rockies sit at 13-21, fourth in the NL West, the question arises: When does the franchise make a change?
Dan O' Dowd made some interesting comments today in the Denver Post about how he doesn't intend to make any changes to the current staff. While the comments should anger fans, it should be no shock that this is the mind set in the front office.
Keep in mind that this comes from a man who told the current manager, Jim Tracy, that he can indefinitely be with the organization. While fans and analysts have speculated as to what that exactly means, the fact is that the entire coaching staff was kept around after 2011, the most disappointing season in franchise history.
The Rockies’ struggles begin with Dan O’Dowd. Blame the Monforts for not spending the money all you want, but they have spent big money on a few players through the years—Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and let’s not forget the abysmal signings of Mike Hampton and Danny Neagle. Even coming into this season, many argued that the Rockies overpaid for Michael Cuddyer.
The Rockies are in a market that allows them to spend money, but they have to get it right when spending. This is something that simply hasn’t happened under Dan O’Dowd.
Think about all the prospects this franchise has missed on. Think about how Generation-R turned out.
Since 2005, fans were fed the line of “we are building from within.” That is not a bad model by any means, but the 2011 season showed just how overvalued the farm system was. As Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Ubaldo Jimenez and others departed this past offseason, so did the old model of building from within.
Look at this season. Sure, no one expected the Rockies to compete for a division title, but this team is flirting with last place in the division and already appears to be making roster moves out of desperation.
What’s even more disturbing is that Dan O’Dowd completely overhauled the clubhouse—again, just think back to 2005, because he wanted a different attitude from his players. If this team can’t turn around this horrible start, then the Rockies will be failing in the new model O’Dowd promoted.
If that is the case, Dan O’Dowd can then use the possible success of young players such as Rosario, Arenado, White, Pomeranz, Friedrich and Pacheco as reasons to keep him around.
2013 could be Generation-R all over again. Maybe all the veteran players get the boot and all the young players get the start. Fans could potentially be fed the exact same message, with the exact same staff, with the exact same results.
While Colorado is in no means like Boston, New York or Philadelphia in terms of support for its baseball team, Rockies fans should demand more from their club. Let management know that you will no longer support a mediocre product.
Maybe they don’t listen, but then again, this is the Year of the Fan.