I thought I'd just quickly check out a few GM's who have lately been in the news and try to measure how O'Dowd stands.
Good: Amateur scouting. Oversaw decent drafts and had a strong Latin American pipeline of players
Bad: Player development as MLB skills typically don't seem to match the talent prospects displayed in the minor leagues. Trades were horrible, free agent acquisitons lacked either foresight or thrift, made poor personnel decisions with the MLB coaching staff.
Good: Amateur scouting. Oversees decent drafts and has a strong Latin American pipeline of players. Thrifty, contract mistakes are relatively minor. Thick skinned, he doesn't get unnerved by the clamoring of message boards or sports columnists. Loyal. Doesn't throw other personnel under the bus to save his own job.
Bad: Overly cautious. Carries thriftiness too far, filling franchise with stopgaps and journeymen rather than seeking long term solutions. Perhaps relies too heavily on player development pipeline to fill holes rather than seeking legitimate outside solutions. Loyal to a fault. He allows too many talented player development people to grow frustrated by a lack of opportunity, leave and blossom elsewhere while protecting lesser lights further up the chain.
Good: Willing to take risks and spend somebody else's money, except when it comes to the draft.
Bad: Drafts in his tenure have only produced role players, no franchise cornerstones, and Latin American influx is surprisingly weak.
Good: Has retained capable assistants who keep his incompetence from totally wrecking a storied franchise.
Bad: Too much trust in the power of ballplayers to avoid aging.
Good: His teams are never terrible.
Bad: His teams are never good, either. He uses a common knowledge approach in a division where two rival teams have the resources to put that common knowledge to more efficient use. In other words, the way he's going about building his teams is such to almost guarantee that the Blue Jays ceiling will never be above the Yankees or Red Sox' floors.
Good: Has put together a talented, mostly young team and is good at finding cheap talent to fill holes. Getting Webb at a hometown discount is a coup.
Bad: Ego can't seem to acknowledge the role of underlings. Relatively weak drafts since the departure of Mike Rizzo to Washington. One great trade (acquiring Chris Young for Vazquez) but otherwise tends to give up too much for only moderate returns.
Good: Past two drafts and recent high profile acquisitions in Latin America. An overall record of success in his tenure.
Bad: The end of the Barry Bonds era was handled in such a way to cripple the franchise for several seasons and lack of focus on farm talent for several seasons has left the team without any kind of depth. Poor recent record with free agency with the exception of Aaron Rowand
Good: Consistently outperforms expectations given limited budget. Solid at drafting for depth. Impressive braintrust takes responsibility for failures as well as successes.
Bad: This season has shown a lack of calm when things go really wrong as he's reversed course several times trying to right the Padres ship.
I don't know where I was going with this other than that I still don't see the "O'Dowd is terrible" as a GM line being true. That would be Bavasi. He's not Towers, either, but we've won as many pennants in O'Dowd's tenure as the Padres have in KT's, although the Padres four NL West division titles is four more than the Rockies have. Byrnes has one division title and zero pennants, Sabean a pennant and three division titles. Coletti hasn't won anything, yet.
While I'm pretty sure I'd rather have Towers, the other three GM's in the division don't appeal to me. Maybe this is why the NL West is so terrible. Still, even looking outside the division, there are only a handful of GM's that I could clearly say that I'd rather have leading the Rockies than O'Dowd. Theo Epstein, certainly would be on a short list and I love the job Andrew Friedman is doing in Tampa Bay. Pat Gillick has been successful everywhere he goes, but he's retiring.
I'm going to post this for right now, and then write something more about the issue of accountability in a separate post. While O'Dowd has built a solid foundation for long term success, near term success for the Rockies is getting hurt by complacency and by a failure to hold people to high standards of performance.