Rox look to strengthen 'pen depth at Deadline

July 19th, 2017
Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich says he will explore both internal and external options when it comes to upgrading the bullpen. (AP)

DENVER -- The Rockies' search to improve a contending club has yielded names and rumors as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. Before Wednesday afternoon's game against the Padres, general manager Jeff Bridich didn't feed any of the speculation, but laid out his approach for the Rockies.

Deadline priorities

Bridich: "We're researching bullpen pitchers that might fit us. In terms of depth, looking at the depth in a team that is challenging for the playoffs here, which is who we are, looking to increase the depth there and potential impact there is something that's potentially a natural fit for where we're at right now.

"After that, a lot of our improvements that can be made to the play of this team can and likely need to happen from within. That's continued superlative play by certain guys, and honestly improved play by others who are getting regular playing time."

Types of relievers being sought

Bridich: "We're looking for people that can impact us positively, and if it's high-leverage situations, if you're asking if we're looking to acquire relative to last year or a or someone like that at the Deadline, we did that in the wintertime. We got Greg Holland who is, if not the best closer in the league he's one of the top two in the National League with . That's a good thing because I'm not sure that type of guy is available.

"The role is contingent, just like it is with us, on a bunch of other things. Role doesn't matter. Our evaluations of the person and the player, and how that person and player might fit on the team are far more important than a role that a player would have on another club."

An assessment of the current starting rotation -- which at times includes four rookies (, , and ) and a second-year man ()

Bridich: "I believe in our starter group -- as long as we are healthy, which currently we're not entirely. I believe that very soon the hope is that we're very healthy in terms of the starters that we have available to us. , the hope is that this calf strain is minor and that he recovers from this. [testicular cancer], we can all see what's going on with him now that he has started his rehabilitation process, baseball-wise. The hope and expectation is that we can all see a light at the end of the tunnel with Chad. And [left knee surgery], hopefully sometime in August."

How performance has led to trust in young pitching

Bridich: "You believe in the people because you've lived with them for X-number of years, and you've seen what they can do. To try and anticipate fully, that's probably an overstatement that we had done that. But we believed in this grouping of guys and continue to believe in the grouping of guys coming up behind these guys."

On sticking with the offensive lineup, vs. trading to reshuffle

Bridich: Are there ways this offense needs to improve? Absolutely, 100 percent. We strike out too much. We have a lot of empty at-bats in places we shouldn't have empty at-bats. We can do it. We saw certain at-bats over the last 72 hours -- the last game in New York and especially the first game with us against the Padres -- when we as a group are more selective at the plate and less panicked at the plate.

"And that goes to something that I've been saying for a few months now -- there's a difference between talented and good. This group is incredibly talented. We have an opportunity to be good. We need to be good more consistently."

Teams dangling relievers could ask for a couple of top position player prospects -- Double-A shortstop Brendan Rodgers (Rockies' No. 1 prospect, according to and Triple-A first baseman Ryan McMahon (No. 5)

Bridich: "We get connected to players that play for our organization, so I'd rather not trade anybody. But if you are going to entertain adding talent from other teams, then you have to give to get. We realize that. We've demonstrated some of that in the past with some of the trades that we've made.

"Any time you make a trade you hope that it works out for both parties. The Tampa Bay [Marquez and reliever Jake McGee came to the Rockies, All-Star designated hitter Corey Dickerson went to the Rays] trade is a good example. Both teams saw needs in areas that other teams couldn't help to satisfy, and the players that switched hands played well in both places, which is great. That's what you want."