Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Links and Things: Dan O'Dowd speaks!

After a busy week that included trading for Marco Scutaro, the Rockies fell mostly silent over the past seven days. Well, at least from an on field transaction standpoint. We did hear a few words from general manager Dan O'Dowd, who spoke to 850 KOA's Dave Krieger about the Rockies offseason game plan and team chemistry things. 

That article leads off the links this week. Hopefully it doesn't swing at the first pitch. 

1. Dan O'Dowd: Rockies got rid of players who didn't "get it". 850 KOA

A lot of silly and pointless debates went on over Twitter over one specific comment O'Dowd made during this column.

"Quite honestly, I just feel like we needed to address our culture more than anything. We certainly need to address our talent, but I think talent becomes secondary if your culture is not where it needs to be. I think we had too many players, not naming anybody, that were more worried about collecting service time than actually worried about winning and playing the game the right way."

Actually, it was more over three little words: "talent becomes secondary".

Listen, folks, it's not difficult to understand what he's saying when you think about it in the proper context. He's not saying talent isn't among the most important factors in evaluating baseball players and putting the best roster together. What he is saying is that you have to also account for wasted and underachieving talent weighing the entire team down, which is exactly what the Rockies have been dealing with for the past two seasons.

What leads to wasted talent? Players the don't "get it". Simple. Players that don't put in the extra work to maximize their abilities. Players that, as he worded, are more worried about collecting service time. O'Dowd knows who's putting in the work, and he's absolutely correct when he says talent comes secondary when individuals aren't working to improve themselves, to improve the team, and when they're surrounded by too many people who approach the game the same way they do.

I get it. I have no problem with a word he said there. I understand the Rockies parted with a lot of "talent" (much of it wasted or unrealized) this offseason, and I agree they could have exercised more patience with certain players. But you can't wait forever. Sometimes you have to evaluate players beyond the raw talent and move on. Sometimes you're going to be wrong making that assessment. Sometimes that assessment is what finally motivates the player to work harder. But you can't be afraid to do it.

After last year's disaster, now was the time to make those decisions. Dan O'Dowd will have to live with the results, and I'm more than he's comfortable with that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Links and Things: A look back at the Rockies active week

Quite a bit has gone down since last Tuesday's links. The Rockies did eventually sign Jamie Moyer to that minor league contract we discussed. Dan O'Dowd turned around and traded Kevin Slowey to the Cleveland Indians before he ever threw a single pitch in Colorado. And more importantly than those moves, he also acquired Marco Scutaro from the Boston Red Sox for Clayton Mortensen. 

Yes, that Clayton Mortensen.

All that activity means Rockies writers and bloggers had a lot to talk about this week. Here are a few of the more interesting opinions.

1. Starting with my own, of course. In case you missed it, here's what I had to say about the dealings. Heaven & Helton

2. O'Dowd's pieces fit together, but is it the right puzzle asks Andrew Fisher. Purple Row

3. A Farewell Letter to Kevin Slowey. Rox Pile

4. Long-time Rockies blogger David Martin gives his take on the Scutaro trade. Does he think the Rockies look better now than they did on October 1? Rockies Review

5. Logan Burdine provides a slight reassessment of the Rockies offseason following this past week's activity. Blake Street Bulletin

6. Todd Helton spoke to Mark Kiszla, thus making the usually unreadable Denver Post columnist's latest Rockies piece worthy of a glance, if only to read Todd's quotes. Denver Post

7. To close we venture away from Coors Field to Cooperstown, New York, where Michelle Hoag visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Read all about her trip and check out the interesting photos of Rockies memorabilia commemorating some of the franchise's biggest milestones. Rox Pile

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rockies stay busy, acquire Marco Scutaro from Boston

Dan O'Dowd was among the most active general managers even before this weekend rolled around, and then he continued his aggressive overhaul of the Rockies major league roster with another pair of deals.

The headliner may go down as one of his best trades in his 12 year run with Colorado. In a deal that was on again, off again for roughly 24 hours, the trigger was finally pulled on a trade bringing Boston Red Sox shortstop Marcus Scutaro to Denver in exchange for... Clayton Mortensen. Yes, the fringe at best major league starter/reliever (who actually pitched well during his stint with Colorado) for a guy who can fill three major roles for Colorado.

We're going to call that a win for O'Dowd.

The Rockies will be on the hook for all $6 million that Scutaro is owed. That obviously played into the inclusion of Mortensen in the deal rather than a prospect, and the dispute over taking on all $6 million likely played into the delay of the deal.

But at the end of the day, Scutaro is coming, and as I said before, he should fill three important roles for Colorado.

1) He will be the unquestioned starter at second base.

The Rockies haven't had one of those since Kaz Matsui in 2007. Before that you have to go back to Eric Young Sr. to find a steady second-sacker in Denver. Needless to say, it's nice to know the position will be filled for at least 2011.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Links and Things: We say goodbye to Seth Smith

The trade winds keep on blowing in Colorado... along with a lot of snow I hear. This time the Rockies have parted with outfielder Seth Smith, shipping him to the Oakland A's for two pitchers who may or may not be good fits: Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscaso.

I wish I knew for sure how well they will fit, but any time you can get two pitchers - who are relatively young/cheap, have experienced the big leagues, and even enjoyed a degree of success in the big leagues - for at best a really good platoon corner outfielder, you pull the trigger and take your chances.

So Dan O'Dowd pulled the trigger and now we have about 15 pitchers battling for four starting rotation spots behind Jhoulys Chacin, maybe a couple of bullpen spots, and for the right to be the first starter/reliever recalled if a MLer is injured.

As Dan O'Dowd put it.

"It's a raging competition for spots."

I shortened the quote, but it still sounds awesome.

Honestly, the most likely outcome to this trade is maybe not that we forget it ever happened 2-3 years down the road, because we all respect Seth Smith and he was significant enough to not be forgotten that easily, but I doubt it'll register as more than a minor footnote. That said, I think the Rockies have a better chance to come out big winners if either pitcher is useful for any extended period of time. If both are, Dan O'Dowd can keep his job forever.

That's what I'm saying about the trade. Here's what a few other websites are saying.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Links and Things: Juan Nicasio, Ben Petrick, Aaron Cook, Mike McCoy. Yes, Mike McCoy

Another quiet week on the Rockies hot stove. I can't even think of any new, potentially interesting rumors that popped up. Pretty much the status quo, with the same names, teams, and minimal movement. But there was one big piece of news at least. Exciting news to boot, and that's what leads off our links for today.

1. Juan Nicasio faced live hitters and is on track to pitch in spring training! Denver Post

This is absolutely sensational news, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised considering the fearlessness and the toughness Nicasio showed on the mound last season. Still, to think about how devastating Nicasio's injury had the potential to be, compared to where he is now, it's remarkable. Go get'em, Juan!

2. Here's an update on former Rockies prospect Ben Petrick's battle with Parkinson's Disease. ESPN E:60

3. Remembering Aaron Cook and his sinker. RoxPile

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's links: NL West offseason review, Larry Walker's HOF chances

We're back after a nice, cozy, surprisingly mild weathered holiday season here in northwest Illinois. Not only was it not a white Christmas or New Year, it felt like spring training weather. I wouldn't be offended if it continued this way all the way through March, and then happened again next winter. 

Make it happen, Mother Nature.

Since there hasn't been much real news concerning the Rockies roster over the past couple of weeks, and since I don't have any real baseball thoughts as I recover from the travel and countless turkey sandwiches, I figured I'd throw together a collection of links to keep us entertained for a few days.

1. Andrew Fisher reviewed the offseason for all five squads in the National League West. It's definitely worth a look as we set up for the hot stove home stretch. Purple Row

2. Chris Jaffe over at The Hardball Times provides an in depth preview of next Monday's Hall of Fame results. It's an interesting read, and he even goes as far as to predict how the voting will break down. See where he projects former Rockies great Larry Walker to finish on the ballot. Next week's Coopertown election results today

3. Struggling to come up with reasons to believe the Rockies will be better in 2012? Don't worry, Travis Lay from the Blake Street Bulletin has five reasons to believe it.

4. David Martin of Rockies Review simply asks: Have the Rockies done enough?

5. Frank over at Druidlove Sports takes a look at multi-purpose stadiums in wake of yesterday's Winter Classic. Who knows, maybe Coors Field will host of one those someday. With a change of sports venues

You can also follow Frank on Twitter: @druidlove

6. We saved the best for last. Congratulations are in order for our friend Michelle Hoag. Michelle impressed all of us with the hard work she put into running her Rockies Woman blog, and that hard work paid off as she will now take on the role of editor for Rox Pile. Its a much deserved opportunity for her and we certainly wish her well!

Check out Michelle's new home: Rox Pile