Daniel J. O'Dowd, Executive Vice President/Chief Baseball Officer & General Manager
Dan O'Dowd is entering his first season as the Rockies Executive Vice President, Chief Baseball Officer/General Manager after spending 11 seasons as the Rockies Executive Vice President, General Manager. Only three other general managers have been with their respective clubs for longer periods of time.
The Rockies have reached the postseason in two of the last four seasons, as O'Dowd is the first general manager in franchise history to construct more than one playoff team. Over the last four seasons, only three National League clubs, Philadelphia (371), Chicago (340) and Los Angeles (341), have more wins than the Rockies (334). The 2009 National League Wild Card Champion Rockies, built by O'Dowd and his staff, had more wins (92) and a higher winning percentage (.568) than any other team in franchise history. O'Dowd also formed the roster for the 2007 Rockies club, which won 90 games for the first time and captured the first National League Championship in Rockies history.
Following the 2009 season, O'Dowd was named Sporting News' Executive of the Year in a vote by his peers. He was selected by a panel of 31 general managers and assistant general managers and was awarded the honor at the general managers' meetings in Chicago.
The 2010 season marked the continuation of a plan that began eight years ago. Beginning in 2003, O'Dowd joined with others in the front office in a commitment to build competitive teams from within. The dividends from that commitment are apparent, as the Rockies captured the NL Wild Card in 2009, the NL pennant in 2007 and were named Organization of the Year by Baseball America at the 2007 Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN. That selection, which is based on a franchise's performance during the season with the team, coach, general manager and organizational package taken as a whole, was the first for the Rockies since the inception of the award in 1982.
The Rockies have followed an organizational plan geared towards scouting and player development during O'Dowd's tenure. On Opening Day 2009, the Rockies put together an entire lineup of homegrown players, the only team in the Majors to accomplish that feat in 2009. Furthermore, when the Rockies clinched their second postseason appearance in a span of three years, a 9-2 win vs. Milwaukee on October 1, 2009, all nine players in the starting lineup were either originally drafted or signed by Colorado.
O'Dowd's teams, specifically in recent years, have shown tremendous character. In 2009, the team fell to 12 games under .500 and 14.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West before challenging to win the division and earning the NL wild card. Following a managerial change, the Rockies posted the best record in the NL from June 4 through the end of the season. The 2007 Rockies proved to be as resilient as perhaps any other team in baseball history, staving off elimination game-after-game throughout the final days of September. The players on that team, many of whom came up through the Rockies' organization, fought through a season that saw the Rockies fall as many as nine games below .500. Despite a slow start, things turned for the club late in the second month of the season, as the Rockies posted the best record in the NL from May 22 through the end of the year. The season culminated with 21 victories in 22 games from mid-September through the first two rounds of the playoffs, vaulting the team into the World Series.
Twenty-one of the 41 players who have appeared on Colorado's playoff rosters since 2007 were either drafted or originally signed by the club. In 2007, Colorado's World Series roster featured 16 players who were originally drafted or signed by the Rockies. Of those 16 players, 12 of them, including Troy Tulowitzki, were drafted or signed during Dan O'Dowd's tenure as general manager of the Rockies.
The abundance of prospects in the Rockies system has produced several contributors at the Major League level. In 2010 Jhoulys Chacin joined the club's starting rotation and set rookie Rockies records in strikeouts (138) and ERA (3.28) by a starter in a rookie season. Other players who came up through the Rockies system, Ubaldo Jimenez, Dexter Fowler, Matt Reynolds and Troy Tulowitzki, all were major contributors to the success of the team in 2010. Tulowitzki, previously a Rookie of the Year candidate, finished fifth in NL MVP race for the second year in a row and also earned his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. Ubaldo Jimenez earned NL All-Star honors for the first time and became the first Rockies pitcher to start an All-Star Game, while also setting a Rockies record with 19 wins in 2010 and tossing the first no-hitter in Rockies history on April 17 at Atlanta.
In addition to progress at the Major League level, the organization's farm system continues to display unlimited promise in many regards. Baseball America again recognized Colorado for their work in the 2010 draft, naming the Rockies 2010 class one of the top-4 among all MLB teams. The previous season, Baseball America named the Rockies draft the best in baseball. Colorado was ranked ahead of Arizona, Seattle, San Diego and Boston as the top five drafts. Colorado has also signed their top-4 draft picks in each of the last four seasons. In an effort to sustain the kind of success the team has attained through drafts, the franchise has not given up a draft pick due to a free agent signing since 2001. The club retained all of its picks again for the 2011 draft, the 10th straight year the Rockies have had a selection in each round.
Down on the farm, Rockies Minor League players experienced success in 2010, as several players were ranked by Baseball America as a top-20 prospect in the league they played in during the 2010 season. Led by 21-year-old catcher Wilin Rosario (Texas League No. 4 prospect) at Double-A, other players highly ranked were: LHP Christian Friedrich (Texas League No. 10), LHP Rex Brothers (Texas League No. 15, California League No. 12), OF Charlie Blackmon (Texas League No. 17), RHP Juan Nicasio (California League No. 9), 3B Nolan Arenado (South Atlantic League No. 2), LHP Tyler Matzek (South Atlantic League No. 3), RHP Chad Bettis (Northwest League No. 5), RHP Erik Stavert (Northwest League No. 7), RHP Josh Slaats (Northwest League No. 18), RHP Albert Campos (Pioneer League No. 2), C Will Swanner (Pioneer League No. 10), SS Christian Adames (Pioneer League No. 12) and OF Rafael Ortega (Pioneer League No. 18). Those 14 players are just a few examples of the talent Colorado has stockpiled in its farm system under Dan O'Dowd.
While O'Dowd and his staff have proven successful in signing draft picks in recent years, they have been equally successful in retaining those players, especially as of late. In 2010 and 2011, the team reached agreements with some of the club's top contributors, as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez both signed multi-year deals with the club. Those players are part of a group that has made a commitment to the team beyond 2011. In fact, the Rockies currently have 11 players playing under multi-year deals, 10 of whom have signed during the last four offseasons.
For O'Dowd and the Rockies, it is the continuation of a process. "We as an organization are built around our process. Everything we do as a group is done with the intention of moving our process forward."
A key component in that process is finding players who possess character both on and off the field. The only way to make that a reality is to begin from the ground up. Since 2001, the Rockies have hosted a collection of prospects each January for the Winter Development Program. During the three-week program, players go through not only physical training, but also classroom sessions and mental seminars.
O'Dowd continues to supplement the organization with trades and free agent signings. O'Dowd has gone outside of the organization to acquire pitchers Jason Hammel, Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom and Felipe Paulino, along with infielder Jose Lopez in key trades. Additionally, O'Dowd was able to retain starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa and sign All-Star infielder Ty Wigginton, securing both players to multiyear contracts prior to the 2011 season.
Futhermore, O'Dowd has added depth to the club through Minor League signings over the past few seasons. Minor League free agents that have played big roles on the Major League roster over the past few seasons include: Jason Giambi, Randy Flores, Matt Belisle and Matt Herges. His offseason trade of Matt Holliday for impact players Huston Street, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith has already provided returns at the Major League level as Gonzalez became one of the best players in the NL in 2010, placing third in the NL MVP voting and walking away with a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award. In 2010, Gonzalez was named by his peers in the game as the best player in the Major Leagues (Player Choice Awards). Other key trades in his tenure include the trade for Jason Hirsh, Willy Taveras and Taylor Buchholz in the winter of 2006, which was lauded by several colleagues within the game. Several other O'Dowd trades have yielded positive results, especially the acquisition of left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes, who became the franchise's all-time saves leader, from Seattle in 2001. Fuentes was one of the National League's top relievers while in a Rockies uniform and was named an All-Star for three straight seasons.
O'Dowd's tenure in Colorado has been marked by much more than quality drafts. There have already been two members of his staff who have gone on to become general managers for other teams. Josh Byrnes spent three years on O'Dowd's staff and reached the playoffs in his third season as General Manager for the 2007 NL West Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Byrnes is now acting Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for the San Diego Padres. Jon Daniels, who was the organization's baseball operations intern in 2001, just completed his fifth season as General Manager of the 2010 AL Champion Texas Rangers. These are just two of the many O'Dowd colleagues who have gone on to further their careers.
Prior to joining the Rockies, O'Dowd served the Indians front office for 11 years, from 1988-98, most recently as Vice President of Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager. During his tenure in Cleveland, the Indians won four straight AL Central pennants (1995-98) and advanced to the World Series in 1995 and 1997. He spent his first five seasons (1988-92) as Cleveland's Director of Player Development, cultivating future All-Stars such as Charles Nagy, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Shaw and Jim Thome. Indian's President Hank Peters promoted O'Dowd after Baseball America named Cleveland its 1992 Organization of the Year. O'Dowd spent six seasons as Assistant GM and directly oversaw the player development and scouting departments. From 1988-92, O'Dowd oversaw the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Cleveland's Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate. During that period, the farm team advanced to the PCL playoffs four straight seasons (1989-92) and won the league championship in 1992. Before joining the Indians, O'Dowd worked five years for the Orioles. He left Baltimore after two and a half seasons as Assistant Director of Player Development and Scouting. O'Dowd also worked in Baltimore's broadcasting and marketing departments.
Born September 6, 1959, Dan and his wife, Jackie, have three children and make their home in South Denver. He is a graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.
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