The big news in Rockie land is still the resignations of Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett, and the promotion of Jeff Bridich to replace them. After two days of sampling the waters with regards to community reaction, it seems that the prevailing attitude is tepid optimism. Optimism because there had to be change. Bridich seems like a bright guy; but there are reservations due to his existing tenure as an executive of the ball club. If he was already part of the problem, why will he become part of the solution? Regardless, it'll be nice to see a new face at the head of the ship.
What does the guy do, and what kind of expectations are realistic?
There are three avenues down which Bridich and the Rockies can progress this winter. They are: 1) maintain the current group of players, with minor bullpen and depth tinkering, and hope for better luck with regards to injuries; 2) perform a half-reconstruction, which means trading multiple assets to get younger; or 3) a full blowup, and Bridich remakes the club totally.
I doubt many fans think option 1 is a viable path. We have been sold the "stay the course, we'll be healthy next year" line four years in a row now, with horrendous results. The previous regime was only comfortable with minor tinkering, but minor tinkering can't fix fundamentally uncompetitive ball clubs.
Of course, the unchanged variable is owner Dick Monfort. It is quite possible that O'Dowd wanted to make more radical changes during his tenure as GM, but was overridden by an owner who didn't want to rock the boat too severely. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but we do know that Monfort is an owner who demands his opinion on baseball operations be heard. We can hope Bridich is given the latitude to make the tough decisions.
Option 2, the radical makeover that is short of a full rebuild, feels like the most prudent maneuver. This likely means trading one of Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki for younger, cheaper assets, and to use those payroll savings elsewhere. This would probably move the theoretical contention window back another year or two, and it would be painful to see one of Colorado's superstars depart. There is enough talent on the roster that an innovative restructuring could result in an improved club next year, and a contender circa 2016.
Option 3 is the full tear-down of the major league roster: you trade every useful piece of major league talent not locked up long term and assemble a murderers row of young prospects. This also frees up gobs of payroll. In other words, go full Astros. As Robert Downey Jr. would warn you, you don't go full Astros. On the one hand, it would be fascinating to see how a young new GM would perform a full reboot of a franchise; on the other, we would be kissing a competitive Rockies squad goodbye until 2017 at the earliest.
At least we would know that Bridich has freedom of action in that scenario.
I would guess (warning, estimates retrieved from posterior) that option 2 has a 70 percent chance of happening, option 1 would have a 25 percent chance, and option 3 takes up the remaining 5 percent. If Monfort believed that the problems with the club were severe enough to move on from O'Dowd (even if it was an unwilling breakup) he might approve of other big moves this winter.
All we know for sure is that this will be the most interesting off season in a long, long time.
Check out the wealth of material around the Rockies blogosphere.
O'Dowd and Geivett out; now who should we hate? - The Rooftop
Former Purple Row Great Rockies Magic Number (nee Andrew Martin) chimes in on the Jeff Bridich promotion to GM.
In the not-quite-yet frozen lands near Coors Field... - Rockies Zingers
Richard Bergstrom also has thoughts on the subject. Come for the analysis, stay for the Monty Python references.
Injuries ended Rockies rotation hopes - Rock Talk