Monfort: O'Dowd contract extension on way; Hurdle to follow?
Why wouldn't they get extended? They're consummate company men; they'll accept the status quo and maintain happy faces in the process.
I am a sucker. I will still pull for the Rockies all season, and I'll try to make it out to Denver for a series or two. But man, it sucks to maintain loyalty to a team that seems to have such little concept of how to win.
Monfort: O'Dowd contract extension on way
By Tracy Ringolsby, Rocky Mountain News
February 16, 2007
TUCSON - This is Dan O'Dowd's eighth spring training as general manager of the Rockies.
It most likely won't be his last.
O'Dowd and manager Clint Hurdle are in the final year of their contracts, the first time the Rockies have opened spring training with the general manager and manager having no security.
But managing general partner Charlie Monfort said too much is being made of the situation.
While nothing will be done before pitchers and catchers hold the first workout at Hi Corbett Field this afternoon, Monfort indicated an extension for O'Dowd is forthcoming. That most likely would lead to some security for Hurdle, too.
"Everyone can see how well we have done in building up our farm system and scouting departments, and that bodes well for Dan and his group," Monfort said. "They've done a fantastic job. . . . We just haven't (given him an extension) yet.
"At some point, Dick (Monfort, a partner with his brother in the Rockies general partnership) and Keli (McGregor, club president) and I will get together and address the situation."
Given the Rockies traditionally have made sure they're not guided by a lame-duck general manager or manager, the fact O'Dowd and Hurdle are in the final year of their contracts has become a subject of conversation.
O'Dowd said he isn't worried about it becoming a distraction.
"It's really not a concern because I feel good about what we've done," O'Dowd said. "I don't feel any pressures to do something short term. We have taken a long-range approach and we're comfortable that it has been the right approach."
This is considered a key season for the Rockies. They are coming off six straight losing years and have produced a winning record only once in the past nine. They have finished last or next to last each of the past nine seasons.
"I think we ought to be .500, and then we might pull a few out, but our decision goes deeper than that," Charlie Monfort said.
In evaluating O'Dowd, the overall health of the organization is a key. And the franchise has risen dramatically in the eyes of baseball insiders under O'Dowd.
Baseball America recently ranked the Rockies' farm system the second best in baseball, a marked improvement for a team that was considered to have one of the least-productive farm systems in baseball when O'Dowd became general manager in September 1999.
The Rockies' 40-man roster includes 21 players who originally were signed by the organization, and only three of those predate O'Dowd's arrival - first baseman Todd Helton, left fielder Matt Holliday and right-handed pitcher Aaron Cook.
But now it's time for the Rockies to parlay their success in developing players into winning major-league games.
"Honestly, we haven't won a thing at the major league level, so all this stuff hasn't amounted yet to a championship," he said. "But at least as it relates to where we are, we've come far in a relatively short period of time. Because it's very difficult to do what we're doing in a short period of time - trying to home-grow a bunch of guys and get them to the big leagues and be patient with them and have them turn out to be good."
Hurdle is embarking on his fifth spring training as manager, having replaced Buddy Bell in late April 2002. He knows there are expectations this season.
"Clint is becoming a very good manager," Monfort said. "He has some things he wants to do differently, but that's just part of the adjustment process we all go through as we move toward our ultimate goal - winning."
While I am not a big supporter of O'dowd, I believe most of the issues with the Rockies are a direct result of the Ownership. Malone is getting the Braves in one of his stock swaps. I wish he would talk one of the guys he has made rich into buying the Rockies.
What a surprise. Both getting contract extensions despite a total of zero winning seasons during their tenures.
Showing, once again, how much the Monforts really care about winning.
Hurdle is like a damn car salesman, it gets old listening to all of his promises and yet when it comes time for the final product, it never reaches that level of expectaion. I think we should have canned him and went after
Girardi, who in my opinion worked miracles with the marlins last year. This is a guy who would lite a fire under the youngsters and help them reach their full potential.
O'Dowd had a rough start as GM by making some bad trades, but I feel like he's gotten a lot better and should be able to see all the young talent he's brought into the organization develop. Ownership, however, will certainly be too cheap to afford to keep the team together.
Hurdle is a terrible manager and I'd like to see him fired during the season at the first sign of falling out of the race.
That team was actually in first place on July 4th, but in typical Rockies' fashion fell apart in the second half, finishing 82-80. I thought the team was going in the right direction and desparately wanted them to sign Alex Rodriguez in the winter of 2000. I think with him at shortstop the past 7 years instead of signing Hampton and Neagle the Rockies would be in a vastly different place. Rodriguez, Walker and Helton would have been awesome to watch.
Remember opening day of the 2001 season? It was a beautiful, warm early-April day at Coors Field and Todd Walker hit a 2-run, 1st inning homer off the late Darryl Kile. Larry Walker hit another 2-run homer and threw out a Cardinal runner at home to preserve Mike Hampton's shutout. Hampton pitched a great game and left the field to a standing ovation after getting pulled for Jose Jiminez in the 9th inning. It was the perfect day of baseball at Coors Field and turned out to be the high water mark of that season.
I think that game eerily parallels the opening game of the 2003-'04 Avalanche season. There were huge expectations for both teams (more so for the Avs) and for one night they were met. The Avs shut out Chicago 5-0 and Paul Kariya scored the first goal of that season on a very pretty play from Teemu Selanne and Joe Sakic. I'm now weeping at thinking how good that team would have been if it were healthy going into the playoffs. I remember watching the introductions of each player they always do on opening night and being astounded at the talent: Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake, Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay, Adam Foote, Derek Morris, Marek Svatos, JM Liles. Good God, how could that go wrong! I know I'm preaching to the choir with you, CO, but I can't get out of my mind how excited I was before that season and how disappointing it turned out.
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