Sunday, July 31, 2011

Time for O'Dowd to go?

The Rockies Saturday night traded their best pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, to the Cleveland Indians for a bunch of prospects. I hate to see the Rockies resort to trading their top talent in order to get more depth in the organization. If General Manager Dan O'Dowd and the scouting department had done their jobs right this decade depth would not be a problem.

When O'Dowd first came to town in 1999 I was a Rockies season ticket holder. I attended O'Dowd's first meeting with the season ticket holders in the club level at Coors Field. I remember sitting right behind new manager Buddy Bell. I was not that impressed with Bell at the time and thought "I sure hope O'Dowd is right about him". The Bell hiring was one of several mistakes O'Dowd has made in his tenure.

O'Dowd's master plan as he outlined it that day was to eventually have a continuing flow of young talent from the minor league system. This plan has not come to fruition. Hyped prospects like Ian Stewart, Chris Ianetta, Dexter Fowler, Chris Nelson, and others just haven't produced at the major league level as expected. Instead the team has to resort to trades and marginal veteran free agent signings to make up for past draft mistakes. Ubaldo did not have to be dealt for salary reasons like Matt Holliday. He had a club friendly contract for a pitcher of his caliber for a couple of more years.

The O'Dowd regime has done some good things in Denver (including finding a talent like Ubaldo). And from a baseball standpoint the Jimenez trade doesn't sound terrible. The Cleveland prospects are decent. Maybe the Rockies are right in dealing Jimenez now if Ubaldo's struggles this year are a sign of long term problems. Regardless, if the organization had the depth it was suppose to Ubaldo would not have needed to be traded.

Because of the lack of production overall from the farm system I think after the season is over it is time for a change at the top. O'Dowd has had 12 years to build a productive minor league talent pipeline, and it just hasn't happened.

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