MILWAUKEE -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich's offseason plan was to develop a mostly homegrown team that could replenish itself if necessary."In terms of setting that example and having a vision for how we operate, how we manage talented players all over the different parts of this organization, that's an
MILWAUKEE -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich's offseason plan was to develop a mostly homegrown team that could replenish itself if necessary.
"In terms of setting that example and having a vision for how we operate, how we manage talented players all over the different parts of this organization, that's an important part of the job," Bridich said. "That's done collaboratively with the Major League manager, the farm director, the scouting director, all sorts of different people to make that work. It is important for us to remember who we are at the core."
That identity was tested when Chad Bettis had to undergo chemotherapy in his bout with testicular cancer, Chris Rusin sustained an oblique injury, the team ended up with one fewer young catching option when Tom Murphy discovered a hairline fracture of the right forearm and veteran Jason Motte didn't show the location needed to hold a job.
Recent top pick Kyle Freeland and prospect Antonio Senzatela grabbed rotation spots, and the Rockies have German Marquez currently in the Major League bullpen, with Jeff Hoffman and Harrison Musgrave at Triple-A Albuquerque. Organization product Dustin Garneau joined Tony Wolters in the catching tandem, and Colorado designated Motte, due $5 million this year, for assignment because righty Scott Oberg outpitched him.
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Freeland, Garneau and Oberg were Rockies Draft selections, while the organization signed Senzatela out of Venezuela. The Rockies acquired Marquez from the Rays and Hoffman from the Blue Jays before either reached the Majors. Colorado declined to deal some of its depth to acquire available White Sox lefty Jose Quintana, even though many fans and observers believe the teams could match on a deal.
But while the Rockies operate consistently, they aren't dogmatic about it.
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Offseason signings of first baseman Ian Desmond (currently out with a left hand fracture) and relievers Greg Holland and Mike Dunn cost the Rockies a combined nine years and $96 million -- a figure that'll grow if Holland reaches reasonable incentives. And they're paying Motte and Mets infielder Jose Reyes a combined $27 million this year even though they're not with the team.
Bridich hedged his catching bet by picking up veteran Ryan Hanigan and stashing him at Triple-A Albuquerque, with an expectation that he will increase the experience level at some point.
In other words, Bridich wants to be consistent but bullheaded.
"This industry, this game is not built on black and white, one way or the other -- it has to be shades of gray," Bridich said. "You have to at times open your eyes and make sure that you're challenging your own thoughts and conventions so that you're not blind to opportunities that may be out there."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.