Currently, the Colorado Rockies sit in first place in the National League West, 1.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re 15 games over .500 at 77-62, and have won five straight going into a weekend series with the Dodgers. On the outside, that’s pretty good, especially for a team that hasn’t spent much time in first this late in the season in the entire history of the franchise. But could they be better?
After being hired as the general manager following the 2014 season which saw the Colorado Rockies lose 96 games, Jeff Bridich was put in charge of, for lack of a better term, a dumpster fire of a ball club. He got off to a hot start making moves and traded superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays in July of 2015 for Jose Reyes and a couple of high-level prospects at the time.
Then, he began to rebuild the pitching staff that offseason by acquiring pitchers German Marquez and Jake McGee for outfielder Corey Dickerson and a minor leaguer in January of 2016. During his time as GM, 14 of the Rockies 15 top prospects, according to MLB.com, have been drafted under his watch, and then during the 2016 offseason he went out and signed reliever Mike Dunn to a three-year deal, and first baseman Ian Desmond to a five-year deal.
And, of course, this past offseason he spent $79 million this past offseason on free agent arms, Bryan Shaw, and Wade Davis, re-upped with left hander Jake McGee for another $27 million and also added catcher Chris Iannetta on a two-year deal for $8.5 million.
While some moves during his tenure could be called questionable, there’s no doubt that he has helped the team grow and improve and over the last couple seasons have been playing at a very high level, which in turn creates expectations.
The outlook couldn’t have been more positive for the 2018 season for Rockies fans, however a season that looks great on paper, rarely goes the way it’s planned. Shaw and McGee have been liabilities largely the entire season, and Davis has had his blips as well. Iannetta has been mediocre at best at the plate and his back-up, Tony Wolters, has been even worse.
While the team was playing well as the trade deadline loomed, help was still quite obviously needed in the bullpen and behind the plate. Bridich went out and traded infield prospect Forrest Wall, outfield prospect Chad Spanberger, and a player to be named later to the Blue Jays for reliever Seunghwan Oh. It seemed like a lot to give up at the time, but Oh has definitely helped the ‘pen. I thought that was just the beginning.
When Bridich traded for Oh, the team sat just two games behind the Dodgers for first place in the NL West and while the Dodgers made moves what seemed like everyday, the Rockies appeared to sit back and watch. While teams like the Phillies and Braves made semi-splash moves, there was nothing coming out of Denver.
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The catcher position continues to struggle, hitting a combined .205/.288/.356, not including the recently waiver deadline acquired Drew Butera‘s poor offensive output. I will say that the defensive ability of Colorado’s catching battalion shouldn’t be over looked, but the offensive woes are too poor to not point out.
One player that I wish the Rockies had taken a shot at is Wilson Ramos. Ramos, who started the All-Star Game for the American League, was acquired by the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash considerations. I mean, come on. Although he’s had some injury problems this season (92 games played as of 9/5), according to FanGraphs, among catchers with at least 360 plate appearances, Ramos still ranks in the top five in batting average, OB%, SLG%, OPS, hits, doubles, RBI, and WAR, and he ranks sixth in home runs, plus he rates as an above average defensive catcher.
I understand not trading gobs of high level prospects for guys who may leave after the season, but the Phillies only had to give up was money or a very low level minor leaguer. I will never criticize Bridich for the signings he made this past offseason, but when they aren’t panning out the way we had hoped, you can’t help but wonder did some changes need to be made.
On the bright side, though, the Rockies are in first place! They’re 15 games over .500. They’ve won five in a row. Jon Gray and Clayton Kershaw are facing off this Friday at Coors Field to kick off one of the most important series in the history of the baseball team. People in Denver are actually talking about the Rockies even in the midst of the NFL season starting.
Jeff Bridich has helped field a very good team that is playing excellent baseball and have a darn good shot to win the franchises first division title, so whether or not Jeff Bridich has done enough this season is up for debate and only time will tell if more moves should have been made.