Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies mailbag.
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Best wishes to Bill Schmidt. If I had been in his shoes I would have worked too! However, I’ll look to give you some context. (Team President) Greg Feusel said what a great job Schmidt has done in the interim, but what does it mean? No trades on time frame? Can’t find anything for Trevor Story? I could do that.
— Chris, Fort Collins
Chris, that’s a fair question.
To me, the qualifications for a major league GM should be:
- Ability to evaluate talent inside and outside the organization.
- A strong personality to convey ownership of getting things done and making major decisions.
- Creativity in building the roster with a vision to do business.
- Having excellent communication skills inside and outside the organization.
Time will tell if Schmidt has all those skills. He has a chance to make some bold moves this season, so he will be tested immediately. He already made two smart moves by extending the contract of right-hander Antonio Sanztella and re-signing first baseman CJ Krone.
As for his decision not to trade Story on the deadline, Schmidt maintains that no one made an offer to the Rockies worthy of Story’s talent. Since I don’t know what was offered, I can’t make a precise call on that non-move. I will say that I believe Trading Story will have netted more than the draft pick the Rockies will get next summer when Story signs with another team.
For the record, Feisel told Beat writers when asked about Schmidt’s skills:
“(Schmidt) would go to the clubhouse before every game, and talk to the players, talk to the coaches, (manager) spend time with Buddy[Black][Rockies head trainer Keith Duggar], and then he would go downstairs after the game.
“I’ve been around a long time and I mean every single game he does. I never asked him to do it, (Rockies owner) Dick (Monfort) never asked him to do it. You can just see things coming together. Did you guys notice that things start together? I mean, how many times do you need to hit the bat in the face to see it all come together? Aa raha hai? We intended to go out (of the organization), but… they themselves (proved).”
I don’t think this proves that Schmidt was the right choice. The results will tell us this.
Any word on who Rocky will hire for his now-open scouting director and director of player development openings? I want the Rockies to go out to some staff to show that they are open to new ideas and leaders.
— Carson, Englewood
Carson, I see your point and I agree with it.
The Rockies brought in a person from outside the organization, hiring Scott van Lenten as the new research and development director. Van Lenten worked for the citizens.
But, for the most part, the Rockies have filled positions by promoting from within.
Longtime Scout Danny Montgomery was promoted to Vice President of Scouting and Assistant General Manager, so he was essentially the head of the Scouting department. In addition, the Rockies promoted Jack Rosenthal to vice president of baseball operations and to assistant general manager and assistant general manager. He is someone who works with numbers, rules and contracts.
As for the Farm Director, apparently that job is still open. Chris Forbes is currently leading that department.
Could Connor Joe be the future face of the Rockies?
– Rockies fan, Denver
Hello “Rockies fan.” Like everyone else, I love how Joe plays baseball and I love his energy. But he is not the face of the franchise and he will not be in the future.
He might push for might, earning a starting job next season, but he’s probably the fourth outfielder in a good team. The Rockies love his ability to land on base and his ability to hit the ball out of the park. But his defense needs to work in left field and he will have to prove himself over the long haul. In short, I don’t think he’s an all-star. But I won’t mind saying that I am wrong.
In the next year, where do you project Connor Joe and Garrett Hampson to play? Or are they interchangeable? If CJ comes back, it looks like their lineup is pretty good.
– Michael Alcorn, Arvada
Michael, as I’m sure you know by now, the Rockies signed Krone on Tuesday to a two-year, $14.5 million deal.
As for Joe and Hampson, I don’t see them as interchangeable. Who plays left field and first base. Hampson primarily plays centerfield and second base. I wrote about Joe in answer to a previous question.
Right now, Hampson projects as a utility player. Though he was excellent in the middle zone, he needs to show more consistency at the plate. He has been in limbo over the past two seasons as inconsistent playing times have made it difficult for him to find his rhythm.
In the end, I don’t believe the lineup is set. The Rockies need to sign at least one power hitter, possibly an outfielder. This could affect the playing time of both Joe and Hampson.
Now that the Rockies have named Bill Schmidt the permanent GM, do fans have anything to get really excited about as they look forward to offseason moves and next season’s team? Or will it be business as usual?
– Curry, Denvery
Kari, I think it will largely be business as usual. In other words, I don’t expect the Rockies to be big movers and shakers this season. As Schmidt has said on more than one occasion, “We are a draft and developed organization.”
That being said, I believe the Rockies will acquire a power hitter through free agency or perhaps through a trade. we will see. They will also sign a relief pitcher.
You have to remember that even if Schmidt has a plan, he’ll need to get approval — and funding — through team president Greg Feustel and owner Dick Monfort.
Why is Dick Monfort so afraid to look outside the organization to rebuild the Rocky front office? The team has won nine times in 29 years. It is clear to everyone (except the proprietors) that what they are doing is not working.
— Neil, Aurora
Neil, I don’t know if “fear” is the right word. Or maybe it is. Monfort is very loyal – loyal to a fault he has admitted to in the past – and I think he values longtime employees like Schmidt and team president Greg Feustel.
Also, right or wrong, 20th and Blake have a feeling that no one outside the organization can truly understand the challenges of putting together a team that plays baseball at 5,280 feet.
Given the Rockies’ track record—no division titles, 20 losing seasons in 29 years—it seems they want a somewhat fresh approach from outside the organization.
Hi, Patrick. With the Rockies finally announcing Bill Schmidt as the new GM, I believe the first step they need to do is extend manager Bud Black’s contract. I firmly believe that Bud is still the right person to manage the team. I know Budd is under contract until 2022, but let’s hope Schmidt can give Buddy what he needs to get Roux back in the postseason. It’s only fitting that Schmidt expands Black to give him a chance he’s never had in years under Breiditch, and that opportunity to manage a winning team with a few upgrades.
– Victor, Alameda, Calif.
Victor, I agree with you. But I don’t know for sure if Black wants to return after the 2022 season. I’ve asked him that question and he’s essentially said, “Let’s see what happens next year.”
I know there are some fans out there, and some in the media, that haven’t sold on Black. He believes she is too easygoing and not furious enough. He believes that those of us who cover the team are not strict enough on Black.
In fact, a local sports radio talking head has called Black a “Teflon Buddy.” Although I don’t know if that radio guy ever spoke to Black or ever covered a Rockies game.
Black is a hyper-competitive person, he doesn’t show it on camera. Nor does he throw his players under the bus. But trust me, he keeps a critical eye on all his players.
By the way, in his most recent column, Mark Kiszla had an interesting quote from Broncos coach Vic Fangio about Black.
Here’s what Kies wrote:
That manager Bud Black took 74 wins from this motley crew is nothing short of a small miracle.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio said, “I love baseball and I think Bud Black has done a great job with the team he has right now.” When I asked him to rate my friend’s work in the Rockies dugout last week. “For him to probably win with his roster in the mid-70s and where he’s transitioning, I think he deserves some votes for manager of the year.”
I realize the off-season hasn’t started yet and those events will help determine which players will play in which positions next year. But, in your view, is Ryan McMahon better at second base or third base? I ask because another writer, almost on the one hand, said that McMahon is better suited to the other. Do you have any insight into how the Rockies would answer this question? I could see a field of “someone” next year, with McMahon on second, Brendan Rodgers briefly, Colton Welker on third (at least to start the season), Garrett Hampson, and perhaps Chris Owings as utility men.
— Dave, Fort Collins
Dave, that’s a tough question and one that Rocky is considering. Personally, I think McMahon is better at third base than second, but it’s pretty close. The better question is, where is he more valuable to the Rockies? I believe this is third base, where he can beat Nolan Arenado for the Gold Glove.
But if Rodgers moves to the shortstop it leaves a hole at second base. However, not everyone in the organization is sold on Rodgers as an everyday shortstop. I could see that the Rockies were trying to find a slick-fielding shortstop during the off-season and were content to keep Rodgers as a power-hitting second baseman.
As far as Welker is concerned, I believe it is too early to count on him as a start in 2022. Maybe he’s ready to play third base, but he still has a lot to prove.
First base, of course, will be driven by CJ Krone, who signed a two-year, $14.5 million deal with the Rockies on Tuesday.
Who from the Rockies team went to college for engineering?
– Amanda Erskine, Castle Rock
Amanda, is this a tricky question? I know Charlie Blackman had plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, but he ended up pursuing a degree in business.
In addition, lefty reliever Lucas Gilbreth studied engineering in Minnesota. Is there anyone else?
Ask a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies mailbag.