Colorado Rockies’ General Manager Dan O’Dowd resigned Wednesday after 15 years with the team, alongside Bill Geivett, the senior vice president.
His tenure ended with four consecutive losing seasons — an average of 69.25 wins per season — finishing no higher than fourth in the NL West. In short: The franchise has been really bad, showed few signs of improvement in 2014 and absolutely had no chance of making the playoffs this season.
O’Dowd left Cleveland, where he had been the assistant general manager of the Indians for six years, and came to Colorado following the 1999 season. He inherited a team that had three winning records in the franchise’s first seven years of existence. They had never made the second round of the playoffs and had never won their division, but future Hall of Famer Todd Helton had just finished the year hitting .320, with 35 homers and 113 runs batted in. Here is what O’Dowd had to work with:
He will likely be remembered more for the disastrous signings of Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle rather than the nucleus of Helton, Matt Holiday and Troy Tulowitzki. Pitching has perennially kept the Rockies humanely subpar, right in the middle of the league.
The Rockies won the pennant in 2007, made the postseason as a wild-card team in 2009 and had four winning seasons since 2000. They didn’t play well often, but landed their first and only World Series appearance. That seems like something you can hang your hat on, Denver.
Jeff Bridich will take over general managerial duties after three seasons as the team’s senior director of player development. Here are three things he must do to get Colorado back into the playoffs.
Improve the starting pitching
The Rockies finished with a league-worst 4.84 ERA and just 70 quality starts (third-worst in MLB). Opponents hit .276 against them this season leaving only Minnesota as a worse team in this regard (.280). And the Twins won four more games as a team. Pitching has been the Rockies’ point of emphasis for nearly a decade and yet it’s never been properly addressed in the offseason.
Improve the team’s fielding
The Rockies committed 106 errors this season, the sixth most in baseball. Seven years ago, Colorado rode their gloves to the World Series. It didn’t matter that they fielded a low-budget roster, their defense got it done when it counted.
Upgrade at second base
The Rockies ranked third in runs produced (755), second in batting average (.276), fourth in on-base percentage (.327) and first in slugging percentage (.445). The team rarely makes big-picture moves, particularly those involving veterans, but a bat (or two) that can play second base couldn’t hurt.
Josh Planos has had his work featured at the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Rivals, Denver Post, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports Radio, Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio. He currently writes for Wall Street Journal Sports, the ESPN TrueHoop Network and The Cauldron. He loves interacting with readers via Twitter (@JPlanos).