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Jeff Bridich's high profile mistakes highlight importance of Colorado Rockies new GM search

Drew Creasman Avatar
April 28, 2021

Former Colorado Rockies GM Jeff Bridich.

For some, that sentence bring jubilation at the thought of possibility for the future of the franchise. For others, it is a largely meaningless gesture that is likely to get lost in the shuffle of owner Dick Monfort continuing to meddle baseball operations, rendering the job of GM largely ceremonial.

In short, how much does it really matter who the new Rockies General Manager will be?

Colorado has intimated that they will go with an internal candidate to finish off 2021 and search for candidates from outside the organization once the offseason begins. But will this new person, regardless of their talents, be handcuffed in such a way that they won’t truly be given an opportunity to turn this ship around?

It’s certainly true that whoever takes the job will be inheriting an avalanche of problems; From the constant issues of altitude and Coors Field and recovery and playing in the wrong division/league to the built-in financial disadvantages of running a mid-market team in an environment that not a lot of free agents find attractive.

And, of course, she or he will still have to deal with an owner who has shown over and over again that he will jump in at the worst time to veto, or even outright orchestrate, baseball moves.

These are the limitations that constitute the box that any GM will have to work inside of but a smart, capable, and affable person can absolutely find success within that box.

To find examples of exactly how, one need only look at the most high profile mistakes of the Jeff Bridich era.

If you’ve read anything about this club over the last year, you’ve read that Bridich brought in a slew of players via trade and free agency for a grand total of around $300 million for which the team received negative WAR.

Ian Desmond, Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Daniel Murphy et al were Bridich moves that had nothing to do with the owner.

If he had hit on just a handful of these deals, with zero changes from the Monforts, we could be having a very different conversation here. Colorado might even have won the division in 2018. They certainly would have been in much better position to add pieces before 2019.

Who knows? Maybe even a certain former third baseman wouldn’t have gotten so frustrated by the state of the team and demanded out.

We will never know for sure but it is easy to take a look beyond the internal drama and the big moments where Monfort absolutely overstepped his bounds and/or tightened the purse strings at the least opportune times and see easy growth for a more competent GM.

Plenty of owners in pro sports handcuff their team in one way or another and while Monfort does so in unique ways that have to be mitigated. Hopefully, his announcement of a new Team President, a position that has not really existed for this team in over a decade, sends a signal that he is moving further away from meddling.

Even if he isn’t though, this is just one more thing that a more forward thinking General Manager is going to be able to navigate.

For all the overselling that some fans and media were willing to do during Bridich’s tenure, making him out to be the boogeyman responsible for all the the ills of the Rockies world, there is now plenty of underselling that the boogeyman being gone doesn’t really matter.

The fact is that neither is true.

Bridich was neither the sole reason for the Rockies struggles nor is his dismissal the panacea that will cure them of every problem.

Sure, Colorado could end up hiring the smartest GM in all of baseball and find out that he is still not able to overcome everything working against this team, including their owner, but the path to success is clear.

The Rockies were a single game away from winning their division three years ago with a roster built by one of the least experienced, and as it turned out least competent, GMs in pro sports. It’s worth considering what they could have accomplished with the proper complimentary moves.

And they will have this chance again, with somebody else making those key decisions.

Time will tell if the new structure is revolutionary or more of a baby step in the right direction for the franchise.

But the biggest point now is to find the right person for this job. Because the right person could make all the difference in the world.

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