Colorado Rockies: What Jeff Bridich Learned From NFL Teams
In a recent interview, Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich explained some of his philosophies on building a successful sports franchise.
Fangraphs.com posted an interview with Bridich yesterday, and there were some interesting insights into the way the Rockies do business. Perhaps most interestingly, he cited two specific teams as inspirations – and they were both NFL franchises.
If you’ve got the time, the interview is worth reading in it’s entirety, but we’re going to look at what Bridich said about two football teams and how their organizational blueprints relate to the Rockies.
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Bridich started the interview by praising this season’s NFC conference champions, the Atlanta Falcons. Here’s what he had to say.
"“We try to draw information and glean what we can from [other sports]. I read an article the other day praising the Falcons’ ability to build their roster from where it was two years ago. There are elements of team, and elements of winning in professional athletics, that cross over from sport to sport… It would be tough for me to speak intelligently on [the Falcons’ philosophies and schemes], because we don’t live in their walls. But in terms of their personnel — how they’ve gone about that — the article I read was very complimentary of how they targeted specific things, and specific people, in free agency. They’ve also focused a lot on defense, and on getting faster and more athletic defensively, through the draft. You have to tie all those things together. That’s all part of what I mean by ‘Who you are.’ What is your draft position? What is your relative chance of having access to some of the best players that you would want in the draft? Decisions like that are interwoven into the bigger picture of, ‘Do we have to try to add somebody in free agency, or do we have to try to make trades?’ They’ve done it in a bunch of different ways, which is similar to how we look at the world.”"
After talking about the Falcons, Bridich brought up the team they beat last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers
"“In terms of a very narrow viewpoint of how to build a team, and a foundation for a team, the Packers are probably the gold standard in the NFL. The percentage of players on their roster who were drafted and developed by the organization is extremely high. I think it’s the highest in the league, and it’s like that year in and year out… The Packers have chosen, when they do go outside to get a free agent… it’s not a slew of free agents. They seem to be targeting one, or maybe two, per offseason. They’re saying ‘This is how we’re going to fix this problem we have.’ In a lot of ways, they’ve been very successful doing that. The big ones have been Reggie White, Charles Woodson, and Julius Peppers. But there are others. You could make an argument that Jerad (sic) Cook is one. And there are a couple of others, but they definitely do not live and die by free agency, or by trades.”"
After talking football in the beginning, the interview started to shift into more baseball-focused questioning. Bridich didn’t exactly give much away in terms of their internal decision-making process (understandably), there was a paragraph about positional flexibility that stood out.
"“Over the last few years, we’ve been talking a lot about athleticism and positional flexibility. Being in the National League, and being an organization that often carries one more pitcher than position player on its active roster, that’s essential for us. Bringing in a player with the versatility and athleticism of an Ian Desmond… we felt he was a great addition to an already strong position-player group. Alexi Amarista fits into that.”"