Jayson Stark of The Athletic and MLB Network spoke with 32 “baseball people,” including executives and the Colorado Rockies were, as expected, not viewed well by other franchises.
In the article (subscription required), Stark asked executives about, among other things, the Rockies trade return for Nolan Arenado. That got some interesting responses, all of which were expected. However, one of the questions that Stark posed to the 32 people was “Who’s feeling the heat?” in front offices?
Surprisingly, 18 of the 32 said Jeff Bridich. And it’s surprising because despite how the Arenado trade return looks, the backstory of how the Rockies decided that they had to trade him, the team being one of the worst in baseball in the last two years, and the farm system being among the worst in baseball, Jeff Bridich does not seem to be on the hot seat. In their press conference with Jeff Bridich next to him on screen, Rockies owner Dick Monfort said that he answered “no” when asked if he thought about firing Bridich recently.
While he would obviously say that in a public setting after a huge trade, has there been any indication that what Monfort said hasn’t been true? That answer is a no. Maybe after this season, assuming the Rockies play like how everyone is projecting that they will, that’s a different answer but as of now, there is no indication that Bridich will be fired or is even on the hot seat.
However, in elaborating further on that, Stark cited one rival executive that said this (h/t to Renee Dechert of Purple Row and the Rockies Pitch Newsletter on Twitter for posting this portion of the article).
"“Nothing personal, but I have no idea how Jeff (Bridich) has kept his job,” said the rival NL executive. “When you piss off your best player, then you have to push him out the door because he’s pissed off and then you have to pay the team you’re trading him to $50 million [or more] to take him, it’s hard to think of anywhere else that you wouldn’t get fired … I don’t get it.”"
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So, in other words, the feelings that you likely have been feeling in recent weeks in regards to the trade aren’t necessarily just your feelings, but also feelings that are shared by other team’s executives as well.
Now that Bridich and company have dug the Rockies into this hole, they may have impacted their trade returns for Trevor Story and Jon Gray this season since they are free agents next offseason. Why would a rival GM offer anything more than a bucket of baseballs and a $10 gift card to Wendy’s for one or both of them when they:
- A) Aren’t as good as Arenado (debatable for Story)
- B) Make less than Arenado
- C) Have less team control than Arenado, potentially as little as a month (if they are traded in the waiver trade period in August)
Other than high draft picks, how are the Rockies going to replenish their minor system that has improved to be ranked between 23rd and 27th by most publications?
Bridich also claimed in that Arenado press conference that the team is not in a “total rebuild” when they are the only MLB team that has not spent a dime on guaranteed MLB free agents in each of the last two offseasons.
As Stark mentions from another executive, the whole situation is a bit “bewildering.” What is the Rockies plan going forward? The answer to that is the same answer to the old question: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.