Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Is the Hurdle Thing Going to Be a Problem?
2007-03-19 17:19
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I really don't want to begin dwelling on this lame-duck manager situation more than is really necessary before the games even begin. Indeed, I am way behind with my Hastily Assembled Previews -- the dice came up on the Tigers yesterday, and I don't feel adequately prepared to scale that hurdle (get it?) quite yet. But the fact remains, Clint Hurdle doesn't have a contract for next year. Rockies ownership has rather indelicately sent signals that it intends to extend Dan O'Dowd and not Hurdle unless the team wins substantially more games in 2007. Hurdle has evidently already tightened up and is far more likely to cost his team wins than boost their total with the two things he knows how to do: 1) order pitchers to throw at guys and 2) bunt a lot.

The reason I am bringing this up again is I was reading Jon Heyman's piece for about general managers who might be on the hot seat this year and Heyman's entry for Dan O'Dowd at #8 seemed to cast more doubt on Hurdle's future than on O'Dowd's: "[The Rockies'] young starters are solid, and few teams have better positional prospects on the cusp. If the team proves to be a year away, it seems more likely that manager Clint Hurdle could be in trouble than O'Dowd."

If the national writers at Sports Illustrated have correctly read the Monforts' intentions, it's impossible that Clint Hurdle doesn't know the score. Unless the Rockies actually shock us all and play winning baseball this season, this is going to be the story all season long.

Elsewhere: Gratuitous NCAA tournament bashing from yours truly, an NBA partisan.

2007-03-19 22:23:02
1.   Andrew Shimmin
Is Hurdle famous for having his pitchers throw at guys? I've noticed that they hit more batters than most teams, but I figured it was just because they tend to have pitchers who aren't great.
2007-03-19 22:27:40
2.   Andrew Shimmin
Should have read the next post down before commenting.
2007-03-20 08:53:10
3.   joejoejoe
Hurdle's $800K salary is a sunk cost. The Rockies have to pay it whether he manages 162 games or 2 games. Nothing prevents the Rockies from firing Hurdle if he's a few games below .500 and replacing him with a minor league manager or the 3rd base coach. That guy would likely do the job for the same money or just a touch more on an interim basis.

So there is no reason to keep Hurdle if the team struggles continue this year. It doesn't cost anything significant to replace him. If the $50-100K the ownership needs to throw to an in-house replacement is too much your team is a bunch of tightwads who will never win anyway so you may as well keep Hurdle - Billy Martin wouldn't make a difference.

2007-03-20 11:36:27
5.   Mark T.R. Donohue
3 That's certainly ownership's thinking (also, who knows, maybe the Rockies will solve the problem for everyone and play great), but it doesn't take into account the incredibly negative consequences bad managing can have on developing talent. It's not imperative for the franchise's survival that Colorado contend this year, but it would be pretty awful if Hurdle broke Jason Hirsh, broke Troy Tulowitzki's spirit, or buried Chris Iannetta on the bench the way Dusty Baker did to Prior/Wood, Corey Patterson, and Matt Murton/countless other young Cubs.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.