Jim Rome interviewed Dan O'Dowd this afternoon on his radio show. If you didn't hear it live, here are some notes I took during the interview. They are presented without comment so that you may make your own.
Are you optimistic? Says the Rox have ‘got the talent to be competitive’ – ‘youth is who we are’ – depends on young pitchers making a difference.
What happened in 07? Did not get same fundamental performance – “We stunk.” ‘Major breakdowns in every aspects of the game.’ Attributes it to guys trying too hard due to high expectations. Got away from ‘team concept’ – played very ‘cohesively’ in 07, but did not have that last season.
Was it complacency? None of that – ‘great kids’ with ‘good character’ who ‘got outside themselves’, and it snowballed as things got worse. Lost their focus.
Expectations for Hurdle? Both Hurdle and O’Dowd had a ‘failed leadership opportunity’ last year and O’Dowd takes full credit – both tried too late to turn it around. Both men have a good relationship and talked about what each man has to do better in 09. Hurdle learned that leadership is something that has to be committed to every day. Talent level was misjudged in 08. Feels Clint will do better this year – calls him ‘anally organized’ which kind of sounds gross.
How does a GM handle a ‘contract year’? He can’t change his focus. ‘You’re only as true as the leader you are.’ If he expects things from Clint he must expect them for himself. Winning is ‘incredibly important’ and you can’t get caught up in the day-to-day winning and losing, but the day to day process of doing your job – getting the club in the right position.
Do GMs ever slump? The grind can be trying but baseball is a game about perseverance, optimism, and the right attitude. ‘Blessed’ to work for a great president and ownership – not a lot of anxiety in the process. Headed in the direction where ‘handshake and your word means more than words on a piece of paper’.
Holliday trade? Made Matt the largest offer they could make him. Understands why they were turned down. Continues to call last year’s situation a ‘distraction’, particularly because of the Boras angle. ‘Who we are is built on the sum of the parts.’ To get back to ‘being a team and being what we were in 07’ they could not afford that distraction.
Dealing with Boras? Complimentary of the job Boras does but disagrees with him fundamentally on certain things. Didn’t specify. Did not say he would not negotiate with him.
Expectations for Helton? “He’s doing great.” No guesses on games, will monitor rest and recovery. Todd’s OBP and pitches per PA sets up the rest of the lineup very well. When he stays within he’s still a great hitter.
Watching a young Manny Ramirez? He was ‘uncomfortable’ as a young player in every aspect of baseball and social life except for hitting a baseball.
Favorite players to be around? Names a lot of former Indians and Helton. Common theme - 'great teammates' and 'tremendous competitive desire' and 'no fear'.