Dexter Fowler trade worsens Rockies public image

Colorado Rockies column banner: In the Rockpile -- Roy Oswalt

Dexter Fowler
The Houston Astros acquired Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later for an outfielder and a pitcher. (Jennifer Hilderbrand/USA TODAY Sports)

The Colorado Rockies unloaded Dexter Fowler on the Houston Astros Tuesday. In a move to dump his $7.35 million contract two years after re-signing him, he was traded along with a player to be named later for outfielder Brandon Barnes and right-hander Jordan Lyles.

Fowler is saying he looks forward to a new start with the ‘Stros — winners of 51 games — and that leaving Denver would be bittersweet.

General Manager Dan O’Dowd sent Dex to the newly aligned AL loser of 111 games, one of the only more inept teams in baseball than the Rockies. Colorado is a slight upgrade as far as a quality of team, but that isn’t saying a lot.

The Rockies faithful was up in arms, lead largely by Fowler fans. The same fans who normally don’t criticize the team vocally were very upset on social media about the trade with the Astros. “Welcome to the party, pal!”

If there is one thing the anti-front office crowd needed was more company. There was a cacophony of cries from fans calling for one thing: Dan O’Dowd must go. That, of course, won’t happen. We’ve been told to “trust the organization” and owner Dick Monfort has said O’Dowd is one of the best GMs in baseball.

O’Dowd’s job seems to be eternally safe despite the fact his firing would be the only move universally approved by Rockies fans if it were to happen. Fowler was an okay player who was consistently inconsistent. He was a defensive asset, but he was overpaid for his production. The Rockies could have kept him another season to see if he could earn his high pay, but management cut bait and sold at what they perceived to be the high water mark for him in value.

Barnes, the outfielder, seems to play good defense, and it could be interesting to see him running down fly balls in center field at Coors Field. He played 116 games in center field, starting 102 of them for Houston. But Fowler has better numbers — a higher average, more home runs and a higher salary.

Barnes is due less than $500,000, so do the math. The Astros wanted a player with a better bat and who was exciting on the bases. They are getting what they want and hoping Fowler’s contract is worth the time and money. The Rockies got what they wanted, prospects and more money they just weren’t prepared to invest.

But it’s okay; things are better now. By trading Fowler and his contract, Monfort is now more prepared to pay for Troy Tulowitzki ($16 million) and Carlos Gonzalez ($10.5 million), as well as a new party deck in place of the third deck right field seats.

Fans rightfully decried the refusal to pay an inflated salary for the speedy outfielder and the subsequent trade for cheap prospects. It is just another example that furthers the image that those in the Rockies front office are cheapskates and uncommitted to winning. They packaged Fowler and sent him packing for a 7-9 pitcher and another outfielder to compete with Charlie Culberson and Corey Dickerson.

Monfort said his goal is to have the Rockies in the playoffs “two of every five years.” They are more likely to be the worst team in the NL West two out of every five seasons.

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