The Colorado Rockies have given manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Dan O’Dowd two-year extensions. Seems a little too much, a little too soon, methinks.
Hurdle replaced Buddy Bell as manager in 2002. The Rockies went 67-73 under Hurdle that year. Since then, Hurdle has led the Rockies to records of 74-88, 68-94, 67-95, 76-86.
Couldn’t the Rockies have waited to see some improvement before handing over a two-year extension to Hurdle? Listen, I know Colorado is a tough place to win -- the thin air, the inability to lure top free-agent pitchers, etc. And I know the Rockies haven’t had the best players, either. But the fact is Hurdle has yet to manage a team to a .500 record. Why not sit Hurdle down early in the season and say, “You have a solid young nucleus to work with now. We want to see some improvement in these young players, as well as in the win column. Do that, you’ll earn a nice extension.” Colorado is assuming this team will improve and assuming Hurdle is the man to get the job done. Sorry, but judging by his record, I’m not willing to make that leap of faith.
As for O’Dowd, I give credit to him for building a strong, young foundation. You look at this team and see Garrett Atkins and Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta, and there are more hot shots on the way. But the fact is O’Dowd has been on the job since 2000 and has yet to assemble a contending team. Why not wait and see if these young guys develop before forking over an extension? Why not wait to see improvement in the win column? The Rockies ownership could at least wait until the All-Star break. They are putting too much faith in a GM who has accomplished zero.
We can’t freak out about Chris Carpenter’s elbow injury … yet. Hopefully this is just a blip, and he’ll come back healthy and strong in a week or two.
But I’m worried.
When I was doing my old weekly column, every year I’d write an article about pitchers who I thought would break down. Carpenter was a mainstay on the list. Why? A combination of injury and workload concerns.
Carpenter missed all of 2003 after undergoing shoulder surgery. He came back in 2004, but the Cardinals didn’t baby him -- he pitched 182 innings. Seemed a bit much.
The next year, 2005, things really got out of control. Between the regular season and playoffs, Carpenter tossed 262 2/3 innings. Obviously, that’s way too much for anyone, never mind a guy two years removed from shoulder surgery. The hefty workload continued last season: Carpenter tossed 254 innings (playoffs included).
If the injury proves to be serious, I won’t be surprised. No need to panic yet, Carpenter owners, but you probably should start thinking about Plan B. Look for some trade partners. Search the free-agent wire. This could be a bad one.