On Monday, Bill Schimdt was named the interim general manager of the Colorado Rockies. The hiring is quite sensible and should provide stability to the Colorado front office, however the long term plan is to hire a permanent GM this coming offseason.
The Schimdt hiring is the right first step, however the real test will be taken when a new front office executive is named after the season. This hiring will be critical for the Rockies, as the organization’s success and reputation has fallen precipitously since back-to-back playoff runs in 2017 and 2018. When a new head of the baseball hivemind is in place, the Rockies could have the opportunity to start fresh and begin working their way back to relevancy in the National League.
But who could it be?
On paper Schimdt’s résumé clearly makes him a reasonable candidate for the job, however there is one major indictment against his case: his tenure with the organization. Schmidt is in his 22nd year with the Rockies and, with the franchise’s reputation for in-house loyalty despite failing to achieve consistent success, they are in desperate need of a fresh approach. Eric Fayeulle touched on this exact subject on Thursday, and evidence is leading us to believe that Rockies will in fact look outside the organization for their next hiring.
If you're looking for candidates for an interim GM for #Rockies, it will likely be scouting director Bill Schmidt, or assistant GMs Zack Rosenthal or Jon Weil.— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) April 26, 2021
I'd expect an announcement in the next few days.
Will the permanent GM come from the outside? I would think so.
So with that in mind, let’s look at some possible candidates from outside the organization who could take the reins for the Rockies.
Rubén Amaro Jr.
We’ll begin our list with the first name we’ve heard associated with the search. Earlier this week, mlbtraderumors.com reported that Rubén Amaro Jr. had been contacted by the Rockies regarding the vacancy.
Amaro Jr. served as GM for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2009-2015. He took over for a team that just won their first World Series in 28 years and oversaw their trips to the playoffs in his first three seasons. Unfortunately, that would be the end of the good times for Philadelphia. Their core would age out and the organization would shift into rebuilding mode, having yet to reach to the playoffs since.
Amaro Jr.’s time in Philadelphia wasn’t a disaster, and he did leave the team with future pieces such as Aaron Nola, Ken Giles and Sixto Sanchez in place. However, his success certainly seems frontloaded on a team he inherited.
While he may not be a bad choice, it is hard to see Amaro Jr. as the right choice given the current state of the Rockies.
For a team focusing on the future, Billy Owens seems like a more natural fit. Owens has been a member of the Oakland A’s since 1998, initially serving as a minor league hitting coach before taking on a front office role in 2003. Owens quickly earned the responsibilities of director of player personnel a few years later and has served in that capacity since while also being assigned an assistant general manager tag in 2019.
Owens has been a hot commodity for front office openings lately, having been in the running for the GM openings of the Los Angeles Angels and New York Mets in recent seasons. The Oakland A’s have been a poster child for an analytically-driven front office approach, and if the Rockies were to pluck Owens from the nerve center of their operation it would certainly be a welcomed hiring from outside the current organization.
Like Owens, Dana Brown is another desirable executive with a strong background in scouting and player development. Brown’s career started in Pittsburgh in 1994 before joining the Expos/Nationals in 2002 as the director of scouting. He handled that role until 2009 before joining the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 as a special assistant to the general manager. He served in that role until joining the Atlanta Braves 2019 as vice president of scouting.
Brown’s history of prominent roles in successful rebuilding projects in Washington and Toronto is a major plus for where the Rockies currently sit. That history, along with his current success in Atlanta, could make him an ideal voice to lead the way forward in Colorado.
Thad Levine’s name has frequently come up since the Bridich announcement and it is easy to understand why. Currently the GM of the Minnesota Twins, Levine cut his teeth in the Colorado front office from 1999 to 2004. He served as a director in baseball administrations and operations in his time with the Rockies before leaving for the Texas Rangers to serve as an assistant to the general manager. Levine held that role for 11 seasons in Texas (two of which saw the Rangers reach the World Series) before taking over as GM of the Twins.
Levine’s history speaks for itself, and his previous time with Colorado makes him an attractive candidate. However, it may take more than sentiment to get him on board. Levine has served as general manager in Minnesota under executive vice president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and was in the running for that role in Philadelphia before the hiring of Dave Dombrowski.
From Levine’s perspective, leaving for Colorado just to serve under Greg Feasel and Dick Monfort may not sound too enticing. But, if given the opportunity to have full say in a newly created vice president of baseball operations role, he could build the product on the field and in the analytics department to his liking and be the perfect face to bring the organization in to the future.
Ultimately, the next hiring by Monfort needs to be aimed at finding a new leader for baseball operations. Maybe Amaro, Owens or Brown could be the right choice and do so in a general manager role. Or maybe Levine is the perfect fit and his addition in a VP role allows Schmidt to stay in place, letting the Rockies have their cake and eat it too. Regardless, a new leader is sorely needed and their experience from outside Colorado will be paramount in moving the organization forward.
Who should be the Rockies next front office hiring?
This poll is closed
Rubén Amaro Jr.
Other (make your pick known in the comments)
★ ★ ★
In news harmonious to this article, ESPN talks with Bill Schmidt regarding his new role and his future with the organization. Schmidt will have work to do this season as acting GM, such as dealing with the impending free agencies of Trevor Story and Jon Gray, but he does hope this is a position he will be able to hold for the long run. When asked his thoughts regarding the interim tag, Schmidt replied:
“I have aspirations of having the job full time, and hopefully I can do a good enough job that Dick and Greg will give me consideration going forward.”
Following the press conference to introduce Bill Schmidt as interim GM, Mark Kiszla still has questions. Specifically, who will be in charge of handling a Trevor Story trade? “I’d like to think I’d be involved in the conversation,” Schmidt said Wednesday. “And we’ll do it as a group.” Kizsla is not so convinced of this notion and has serious concerns about the plans to clean up the organization in the aftermath of the Bridich resignation. He believes that Schmidt, no matter how good of intentions he may have, is set up in a position to fail.
On the farm
The Albuquerque Isotopes didn’t have much fun in their second meeting with the Sugar Land Skeeters. Greg Bird doubled in a run in the first inning and Taylor Motter hit a two-run triple in the third inning, however that was it for the Isotopes on the evening. Sam Hilliard also doubled and walked twice, as did Bird, but starter Brandon Gold and reliever were both roughed up for five runs in the second half of the game, leading the way to a 10-3 final score.
In Spokane, the Indians lost to Eugene Emeralds 8-4. The Spokane offense was mostly quiet, with Michael Toglia’s ninth inning home run accounting for the team’s fourth and final hit of the game. The bullpen suffered the bulk of the damage, giving up seven runs in five innings, but starter Ryan Feltner did impress in his season debut. The 2018 fourth round pick only allowed one run in four innings, scattering five hits and three walks while striking out six.
The Fresno Grizzlies suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the San Jose Giants 9-4. Drew Romo and Zac Veen each collected hits in the game, however they also combined to strike out seven times. Second baseman Isaac Collins stayed hot, collecting two hits while center fielder Bladimir Restituyo drove in two with a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly. Dugan Darnell also impressed out of the bullpen, striking out four in two innings pitched.
Meanwhile, the Hartford Yard Goats fourth game against the Richmond Flying Squirrels was postponed due to inclement weather. The game will be made up Saturday as part of a double-header.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!