The pitchforks are sharpened. The torches have been lit. It is time to run Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich out of town, right?
The gigantic controversy between the team GM and Colorado Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado exploded this week and it is clear who the fans have sided with. It wasn’t a difficult decision considering they are choosing between the greatest player to ever play in a Rockies’ uniform (sorry, Todd Helton), and a GM who has made some highly questionable decisions over the years.
Even though I am firmly in Arenado’s corner, I thought I’d put my pitchfork down and take a step back for a moment. What if some of the blame for this rift should be placed on Arenado’s shoulders? Is that even possible?
When Arenado signed his lucrative contract extension before last season, did he not have the foresight to see that the Rockies’ payroll would be tight this winter?
Of course the Rockies should have, at a minimum, signed a Major League-ready backup catcher, added another arm in the bullpen, and strengthened the rotation depth, but the money wasn’t there.
Arenado believed when he signed that the Rockies would build around him a championship contender. Yes, the 2019 team only won 71 games but that was also the same team that was expected to contend entering the season.
Unfortunately, what could go wrong went wrong last season. No one expected Daniel Murphy to be injured in the first series of the season, or a 3-12 start, or a Kyle Freeland freefall from a Cy Young-worthy 2018, or David Dahl missing most of the second half, or Wade Davis losing his fastball, and so on and so on.
What if Bridich is banking on many of these wrongs being righted and that’s why he didn’t open the extremely thin pocketbook?
Think about a bounceback season by Freeland, a full season of Dahl, an average season from Murphy and Ian Desmond, combined with Ryan McMahon, who is poised for a breakout season. On paper, the Rockies could be a very dangerous 1-through-7 offensive lineup and, who knows, maybe the pitching might surprise us.
Yes, I’m trying to be optimistic and drink the purple Kool-Aid … but I know that this is a huge distraction that will likely harm this season rather than propel it.
My only wish heading into spring training is that Arenado and Bridich would lay their swords down and repair the damage that they both have created. There is potential for this season if they can.