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Rox hope front-office moves help out Tracy

Rox hope front-office moves help out Tracy

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Rox hope front-office moves help out Tracy
DENVER -- The naming of Bill Geivett as senior vice president of Major League operations on Wednesday is another indication that the Rockies have decided to run their club differently.

"I don't know how 29 other clubs are doing it and really don't care," Rockies owner and CEO Dick Monfort said in a news conference explaining the restructuring, which still leaves general manager Dan O'Dowd as the club's chief baseball officer. "I don't know that it's unconventional. We happen to have a guy that has tremendous assets, both on the field and upstairs."

The move was the subject of much conjecture Wednesday morning, when unfounded rumors broke out that O'Dowd was parting ways with the Rockies, who are on pace for the first 100-loss season in their history. Instead, the move turned out to be yet another departure from the traditional way clubs operate.

Essentially, all of the coordination of player movement -- for example, finding the right player in the Minors when there is an opening in the big leagues -- as well as injury rehab and strength and conditioning, will go through Geivett. In the past, manager Jim Tracy was dealing with O'Dowd or other front-office personnel who had other issues, such as overseeing scouting or the Minor Leagues.

Geivett, who was given an office in the team's home clubhouse and will be with the club on every road trip, and O'Dowd addressed the club before Wednesday night's game against the Cardinals at Coors Field.

The Rockies believe this will help Tracy focus on the lineup and game strategy, his main interests, and there will be a smoother flow of information when players join the club. For example, when shortstop Josh Rutledge joined the team on July 13, Tracy knew little about him since he was not a part of big league camp. With Geivett, who worked extensively on the Draft and with the Minor League system since joining the Rockies organization in 2000, transitions are eased.

"I think it's almost necessary," Geivett said. "There's so much more that goes on in today's game than just the ballgame at 7 o'clock. There are a lot of things, a lot more people, a lot more staff, certainly, than when I started. It's a lot more complicated, a lot more demands on the general manager.

"I'm here to do what this club needs. I'll be with them on a daily basis. Like I told the players, I'll be there to examine every single thing we do and try to put us in the best position to win games."

Monfort said the mess that the pitching became, with several injuries and struggles by inexperienced hurlers, highlighted the need for better coordination of coaching and preparation, and the need for it to be taken away from the daily duties of the coaching staff.

"If anything this year, one of the things that went wrong for us is we had a lot of young people, a lot of young pitchers, that we expected to step up," Monfort said. "We never knew we'd have to have five at a time. But we did have a lot of young pitchers, and to be quite honest, we probably didn't have them prepared.

"Part of Bill's responsibility in this offseason is how do we get them prepared to where they're more ready next year when we show up for Spring Training."

Tracy said, "The joy that I have as a manager is down here at [game-time]. On a lot of days, with some of the different things that I've had to deal with leading up to that, now are not there. I can be even fresher, not feeling like it's getting closer to the end of the night than the beginning of the night. "I have a great relationship with Bill Geivett, as I always have with Dan. There's not a whole lot that changes -- very little."

It's the latest move in the Rockies' self-examination.

They had a major shifting of front-office personnel during the offseason. Areas of emphasis in the Draft changed, although it will be years before those moves can be evaluated. Attacking unique statistical trends over the 20 years of the franchise has emerged as a focus area. The club went to a paired pitching system -- four starters plus three relievers who can pitch key innings formerly held by the starter -- in June after pinpointing disturbing injury and performance trends. Changes in travel, player diets and rest patterns are to come.

With O'Dowd having relinquished day-to-day duties in the Majors, he'll likely be a part of instituting sweeping changes in the Minors.

Of course, with the team's disappointing performance, fans and analysts have called for firings to correct the problems. Monfort refused to budge in that area.

"People talk about accountability, and they want this person or that person to take the accountability -- I am taking the accountability," Monfort said. "There was not one major thing that has happened over the last couple of years that I didn't agree 100 percent with.

"I know it's easy for people to say, 'You've got to get rid of somebody.' But the fact of the matter is, getting rid of somebody doesn't change the issues. It doesn't change the fact that we maybe don't have the proper focus in areas. It doesn't change the fact that we didn't prepare people right. It doesn't change any of that. What we've got to do is keep moving in a direction where we can get better. We've got the right people to do that."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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