Since I had Sundays open in my schedule for the Quarry Unlimited set, I figured I would set up a Hot Stove Roundup for the week that was. I originally was going to focus exclusively on the Rockies, like I did last year. However, I don't expect the Rockies to make THAT many moves despite their poor record last year. Therefore, I am going to sometimes focus on the rest of the league as well. This week will be Rockies heavy though because for just the 5th time in team history, there is a new manager in Coors Field AND it's a former Rockies player. So let's get to it.
ROCKIES NAME WALT WEISS MANAGER
I was so very happy when this announcement came down, not because I was thrilled about Walt Weiss but because I didn't want either Matt Williams (former Giant and D-Back BOOOO) or Jason Giambi (buddy to too many players) to get the job. It's about the same way I felt with the Presidential election, I wasn't so much for Obama and I was against Romney. I don't know if that is a common way to view life, but I am not going to try and analyze my thought patterns here...so I'll move on.
Anyway, now that I have had a few days to digest the announcement, I am less happy about it for several reasons. First, Walt Weiss has no managerial experience except for leading his son's high school team to the playoffs. There can't be that many managers/coaches that made the leap from high school to the highest professional job in any sport and I am not real happy that my team might be setting a precedent. Secondly and more importantly, Walt Weiss was the special assistant to GM Dan O'Dowd from 2002-08. Since when does being special assistant to the GM qualify you to be anything other than the GM? Why weren't hot managerial candidates Sandy Alomar and Brad Ausmus brought in at least for interviews? From the outside looking in, it appears that O'Dowd wanted to hire a yes man that will basically just do his bidding. I still love Weiss as a player and I hope I am wrong about this, but I am not thrilled with the move.
Onto Dan O'Dowd and I promise I won't go on very long, but I need to say a little. Dan O'Dowd has been the Rockies general manager since 1999. Even though the job titles were switched around in 2012 and Bill Geavitt is technically the GM, everyone knows O'Dowd is still in charge. This is the man that broke up the Blake Street Bombers and got almost nothing in return. This is the man that signed Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle to two of the worst free agent contracts in history. This is the man that has wasted the Rockies first round pick more often than not on players that not only didn't work out, but were drafted higher than expected at the time like Greg Reynolds. How does a GM stay employed for 13 years with decision like those? The Rockies need the front office cleaned out completely and I am afraid they will not be successful until that happens.
Okay so I have a little bit of vitriol for the Rockies front office, but the next item on the list will show you why.
ROCKIES LOSE 4 PLAYERS TO WAIVERS
The Rockies entered this offseason with surprisingly few holes despite having the third worst record in baseball. The pitching staff was horrible, but injuries decimated this team in both the rotation and the batting lineup. That statement sounds like an excuse from the front office, but I believe it. If healthy and managed better, this Rockies team was an 80-85 win team perhaps even more. But injuries came and they ended up a 64 win team. So even though the Rockies had the talent for an 85 win team, they actually were a 64 win team.
With that being said, the Rockies lost four players to waivers several days after the season was complete. The Twins claimed pitcher Josh Roenicke and utility infielder Tommy Field. The Cubs claimed relief pitching prospect Zach Putnam and the Royals claimed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso who had a rough year. What do each of these four guys have in common? They all had value. I may not be a fan of sabermetrics and I have a bit of a blind spot for my favorite team, but the one thing I know about 64 win teams in baseball is they cannot GIVE AWAY value.
How do I know they all had value? Each of the four teams that claimed these players had a losing record and a relatively high waiver priority with the Cubs 2nd, the Twins 4th, and the Royals 8th. A good front office would have been trying to move these guys for a while since they obviously had some value. Surely at least one of the 27 teams below the Cubs in the waiver order would have offered a prospect or even cash for Zach Putnam. The Rockies could have packaged Roenicke and Field in a trade to perhaps pick up Justin Morneau or someone of similar value from another team. Guillermo Moscoso was at least worth a Class A prospect. Instead, the Rockies front office gives away all this value for NOTHING. I am disgusted with how my favorite team has begun the offseason.
How does a good front office work this type of situation? The Royals (not really known as the best front office) were in a similar situation this year. Instead of losing pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Tommy Hottovy for nothing, they traded them to the Rangers and Blue Jays respectively. The return for these two players that easily could have been lost for nothing was cash and a PTBNL or cash. Not much granted, but a helluva lot better than nothing.
I am going to hope that the offseason starts to go better for my team, because it just isn't fun to be a Rockies fan right now. My best hope right now is that some other team does something stupid so I can write about them next week.
Thanx for reading.