FanPost

SABR meeting featuring Bill Geivett, rockies assistant GM

Info on a SABR meeting (Rocky Mountain Chapter) featuring guess speaker Bill Geivett.  Geivett is the Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Colorado Rockies.

Today I attended a SABR meeting (Rocky Mountain Chapter) featuring guess speaker Bill Geivett.  Geivett is the Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Colorado Rockies.

Geivett is an experienced baseball man - his resume includes being a scout with the Yankees, a farm director with Montreal, with also stints in the front office of Tampa and the Dodgers before coming to the Rockies.  Read his complete background on the Baseball America site here: http://tinyurl.com/2ec8eq

In his one hour talk Geivett talked about the state of the Rockies, his background, and baseball in general.  Some points I remember:

Geivett believes the lifeblood of any baseball organization is its scouting department.  Geivett and Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt were disciples of Yankees scouting director Bill Livesey in the early 90's.  During Geivett's time with the Yankees the team developed Derek Jeter, Andy Petitte, Bernie Williams, and moved a minor league second baseman, Jorge Posada, to catcher where Posada later became a star.  While the Yankees have had their share of free agents over the years, the home grown players were the keys to the Yankee championship teams in 1998 - 2000 according to Geivett.

When he was farm director of the Expos Geivett oversaw the development of Vlad Guerrero, watching him reach the majors in 2 ½ years.  Even Guerrero first struggled when he reached "the show" (hitting .185 in a brief appearance his first season).  With the Expos Geivett also switched Michael Barrett from second base to catcher.  Geivett credits Felipe Alou for being a big influence on him during his Expo days.

On the state of the Rockies, Geivett said for many years the organization was not respected by other front offices in the game.  That is changing, he said.  His friends around the majors are giving good marks to the Rockies farm system.  When asked about a recent Baseball America article rating the Rockies farm system #2 in all of baseball, Geivett said "I don't know if we are #2, but that isn't far off.  Baseball America talks to scouts and GMs throughout baseball when coming up with their rankings.  It is not just one writer's opinion.  We have a lot of good young players."

Geivett thinks the Rockies have good balance throughout their minor league system in position players, but that the pitching is trying to catch up.  The team needs more young arms, according to Geivett.  Next year, he predicts, the organization's pitching depth will be better.  He mentioned five Dominican Republic kids the Rockies have who are all solid prospects.   He brought up Franklin Morales, who can throw 98 mph with few walks and with a great attitude.  "I'll pitch wherever you send me," said Franklin when asked to spend more time in extended spring training one year.  Geivett said that a flexible, positive attitude is the key for many young players to reach the majors.  "Guys who have a lot of issues won't get there."

When asked about Rockies prospect Dexter Fowler Geivett said Fowler has the potential to be one of the best center fielders in baseball.  Fowler, he said, hit better this spring in major league games than he did in minor league games.  The issue with Fowler right now is his lack of strength - he needs to beef up to be ready for the majors.

Geivett feels the Rockies franchise is healthier now than it has ever been, thanks to a strong minor league system, but the team "needs to get over the hump at the major league level".  He thinks the major league team has a lot of great character guys who sometimes try too hard and press.  He said the team is hurting in the bullpen now with Ramirez on the DL.  They want to save Buchholz to start Monday in New York so calling up Spier and Kepple is an attempt to have some fresh arms in the pen to get through the series with the Padres.

When asked about the Monforts he said the owners have lost money on the team in the last ten years.  While he doesn't know all the financial details Geivett says the Rockies employees in general feel the owners don't make money on the team.  He said the Monforts have a fondness for baseball that he hasn't seen in other ownership groups (the Monforts are active in watching the team in spring training and are generally enthused about the game)

When asked about the humidor Geivett thinks it's a good thing, and that eventually all teams may have a humidor.  He said when he first came to Colorado he couldn't believe how small, dry, and light the baseballs became in this climate.  He thinks the major leagues need to standardize how baseballs are stored.

One fan asked how the team could sign Latroy Hawkins - this fan said whoever signed Hawkins should be fired.  "Next question," Geivett quipped.  Then he went on to say Hawkins has pitched in 7 of the team's first 11 games and has struggled, but it's a long season and let's see what happens with Hawkins the rest of the way.

Overall I thought this was an interesting session with one of the Rockies insiders.  It is good to know that the Rockies have experienced baseball men like Geivett and Bill Schmidt in the front office.  While I was skeptical of the company line Geivett spouted on the ownership and on Clint Hurdle (both he supports), it was encouraging to hear the strides the farm system has made.

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