DENVER — “I’m wearing it just like everybody else is,” Jeff Bridich said as a smile quickly whipped from his face and turned into visible exasperation. “I never get emotional,” he followed.
The often robotic and rarely explanatory general manager of the Colorado Rockies tried to articulate the frustrations of the 2019 season just after Wednesday’s Trade Deadline. What he finally offered up was a look inside of the organization as the club put together the worst month in franchise history.
“Our expectations were to be playoff contenders and buy at this deadline,” he said. “We expected to be a playoff competitive team. We expected to play good ball based on the past two years. It became clear over time that some of the problems this group has were going to be difficult to solve all in one deadline.”
While Bridich was forced by the 6-19 month to not buy, a pain still came for him. His — like most in Denver — was that the Rockies were to build off of last year’s near tops of the NL West pace. Coming off of back-to-back Wild Card appearances and finally getting to the NLDS for the first time in nine years, the club bought into how the squad performed.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” Bridich said of this year’s struggles. “I didn’t. Certainly not like this”
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Most MLB prognosticators did, however, see this. Though they didn’t see the past two playoff appearances either. Which raises the question: What is the Rockies’ true talent level?
Have they outperformed it for 15 of the past 16 months and this July was closer to what it is or was this July the anomaly? It’s truly hard to say because the Rockies have zigged where most of baseball had zagged and this 2019 squad is fundamentally different than the past two mostly because of pitching struggles. And the club’s identity was built on run prevention, which has swerved since the day the Rockies brought in Daniel Murphy and Dick Monfort’s connection coupled with the fanbase’s love of Charlie Blackmon, making it nearly impossible to let him go.
“The hallmark of this group is that they pick themselves up,” the fifth-year general manager said. “They played some of the best baseball for two months. We looked like the team we should be. This past month has been very challenging and tough baseball to watch. We have to own this. It’s frustrating.”
What is frustrating for Rockies fans was the lack of moves last deadline where the club only acquired one reliever only to fall a half-game short of the Dodgers in pursuit of their first division crown. Furthermore, the lack of acquisitions this offseason befuddled many. Sources say that the Rockies’ front office did not even approach key figures DJ LeMahieu or Adam Ottavino about a return while others familiar with the franchise said they have plenty more to spend than the already $150 million figure that equates to the top bill, stating that Colorado drew a line in the sand and the Monforts are pocketing the extra cash.
All the while, Bridich continues to flaunt sustainable growth as he was handcuffed in bringing back some of the same important players he helped to develop.