So much of Dan O'Dowd's moves in the last five or so seasons as the Rockies General Manager have been calculated to avoid the same sort of riskiness he took in moves made early in his tenure. By not making a move before yesterday's trading deadline, the Rockies didn't get out of risk, and in several cases they have made some very big wagers with a middling team that in effect are saying the dealer's going to go bust.
Let's look closely at the players not moved and see where the risks involved have been pushed to:
1. Keeping Brian Fuentes
By not dealing the team's closer before his walk year, when the Rockies know almost for certain that they will not be able to afford to resign him this winter, O'Dowd placed a bet that a)Fuentes won't accept arbitration and b) his scouting department will be able to find better players with the two extra high draft picks than he would have been able to get in a trade for Brian.
That Fuentes won't accept arbitration is almost a no-brainer given the demand for his services. The only hang-up is his desire to close, and if no team wants him as a closer, he could decide to take the Rockies before the arbiters. I just don't see that happening, and the Rockies could help guarantee that it doesn't by shifting the closer reigns back to Manny Corpas by the end of the season. At any rate, the risk here is very minimal. The risk with the draft picks, on the other hand, isn't something to take lightly as the Rockies have had limited success with picks in the range we'd expect compensation picks to come from. I'm just going to list the picks the Rockies have made between #16 overall and #75 overall in O'Dowd's reign and you'll see what I mean:
2000: Jason Young
2001: Jayson Nix, Trey Taylor
2002: Micah Owings
2003: Scott Beerer
2004: Seth Smith
2005: Chaz Roe, Daniel Carte, Zach Simons
2006: David Christensen
2007: Brian Rike
2008: Christian Friedrich, Charlie Blackmon
While several of the latter picks still have time to prove themselves, at this point the track record isn't pretty. Out of thirteen picks there's a total of one starting quality MLB player, and he didn't sign with the Rockies but went to Georgia Tech and got drafted by the D-backs. Seth Smith is a solid MLB fourth outfielder. Chaz Roe may turn out to be a decent bottom of the rotation pitcher. Other than that, there are a lot more questions than answers on this list.
Consider it this way, of the players that signed with the Rockies, there are none that we'd be willing to trade Fuentes straight up for, and picking the best tradeable pair (Smith and Roe) would be a somewhat disappointing deal.from our perspective as fans. So O'Dowd and Bill Schmidt and company will have to work against their own history if they want this risk to pay off.
I do have somewhat of a problem with the idea that the accountability for this non-move can be delayed for several seasons as we wait to see whether these picks pan out. So to satisfy those who want to make quicker judgments, the fact is that O'Dowd also placed a large wager on how Fuentes can help the team for the remainder of the season get back onto contention. So there's another aspect to factor into the effectiveness of O'Dowd's non-move; simply, do the Rockies come back in August and September and does Fuentes help them do that?
I was going to go over other non-moves, but obviously this post has gone a little long already, so I'll probably have to continue this discussion tomorrow. A couple things though, just as it would be the case if O'Dowd had made trades, we can't judge the non-moves immediately and say the team failed. There will be real benchmarks that we'll be able to look at to know, and some will come sooner than others. Knee-jerk reactions at this point should be avoided until some actual evidence to support or go against O'Dowd's decision actually comes in.