Colorado Rockies: Jeff Bridich did his job this offseason
By Luke Mullins
Colorado Rockies General Manager Jeff Bridich has one mission … find a way to conquer Coors Field.
Before he had even risen to the position of General Manager, Bridich was busy acquiring and developing young pitching. Since he was put in the driver’s seat, pitching has remained his focus.
Bridich understands that in order for the Rockies to succeed as an organization, they have to defeat their nemesis … pitching at altitude.
Colorado’s front office and coaching staff have embraced the mantra that attitude matters more than altitude and that concept has resonated with the team’s young arms.
It has been a matter of principle to recruit and cultivate young pitchers who possess not only the natural talent to compete at the highest level of baseball, but also the mental fortitude to compete at the highest stadium in the majors.
In 2017, all that hard work began to pay off as a young rotation that, at times, featured up to four rookies carried the team to the postseason for the first time since 2009.
And Bridich knows that this is just the beginning for these young pitchers. As they grow stronger and gain experience at the Major League level, they should continue to improve, and the expectation is that they will be even better next season.
The Rockies did have one glaring problem going into this offseason, however. They were losing left-handed setup man Jake McGee to free agency as well as midseason addition Pat Neshek and All-Star closer Greg Holland.
If Bridich was unable to rebuild his bullpen, there was serious doubt that those few pieces that remained from 2017 could last a full season at Coors Field without wearing out and collapsing.
Images of the gut-wrenching late-inning loses handed out by the 2016 bullpen flashed through the minds of terrified fans.
The Rockies could never make the playoffs if they didn’t restock their bullpen.
The bullpen had to be Colorado’s focus going into the offseason and Jeff Bridich knew it.
I think it’s safe to say Bridich did his job … and then some.
He brought back McGee and added veteran setup man Bryan Shaw, each on three-year deals. There were rumors that Colorado was close on a deal to bring back Greg Holland, the number two closer on the free agent market.
Bridich did one better by swiping the number one closer, Wade Davis, away from the Chicago Cubs.
Sure, it meant Colorado had to give away the most expensive per year deal to a reliever in history, but that just shows how serious the Rockies are about trying to take on the Dodgers.
It also signals to the Rockies star players (Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado, specifically) that the Rockies aren’t messing around. Bridich is in full win-now mode and that might just encourage Blackmon and Arenado to stick around.
The Wade Davis move signals to the Rockies players, the Rockies fan base, and the rest of the division that the Rockies are ready to win and that they will do whatever it takes.
For a quarter-century, Colorado has had notoriously bad pitching. Jeff Bridich’s mission has been to change that.
Next: A look at the Rockies infield as it currently stands
After putting together a rising rotation that has caught the eye of the baseball world and compiling what Ken Rosenthal called a “powerhouse” bullpen, Bridich might just turn out to be the man who finally mastered Coors Field.