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Bridich not afraid to take risks for rising Rockies

GM has shown creativity, decisiveness in 3 years at helm
MLB.com @TracyRingolsby

It's no secret that the Rockies would like to find a way to re-sign free-agent closer Greg Holland and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to multi-year deals. They wouldn't hesitate to bring back reliever Pat Neshek, and if outfielder Carlos Gonzalez would be interested in a one-year deal to rebuild his market value, he could return, too.

And the Rockies aren't closing the door on lefty Jake McGee and catcher Ryan Hanigan, a solid veteran backup.

It's no secret that the Rockies would like to find a way to re-sign free-agent closer Greg Holland and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to multi-year deals. They wouldn't hesitate to bring back reliever Pat Neshek, and if outfielder Carlos Gonzalez would be interested in a one-year deal to rebuild his market value, he could return, too.

And the Rockies aren't closing the door on lefty Jake McGee and catcher Ryan Hanigan, a solid veteran backup.

General manager Jeff Bridich, however, has made it evident he isn't likely to be left hanging.

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He will make what he thinks is the best possible offer, and if that doesn't work, he won't hesitate to look elsewhere to fill voids.

That was obvious a year ago.

When the season ended, Bridich made a multi-year offer to retain first baseman Mark Reynolds. Reynolds went shopping and found his only guarantee coming in the form of a multi-year offer to play in Korea. The next thing Reynolds knew, it was February and he was signing a Minor League deal with the Rockies with an invite to camp, but with no guarantees.

Bridich, after all, had moved at the Winter Meetings to address a need at first base by signing free agent Ian Desmond to a five-year, $70 million deal. Desmond opened the season on the disabled list with a broken hand, the first of three DL trips, and Reynolds made the Opening Day roster with a $1.5 million guarantee and $2 million in incentives.

As the February signing showed, Bridich never lost interest in Reynolds, but he also wasn't going to spend the winter waiting for a decision and getting shut out. When he was able to get a deal done for Desmond, he moved quickly, which eliminated any multi-year, guaranteed deal for Reynolds.

That is Bridich's style.

There is not a lot of hype. There's not a lot of conversation. There is, however, action.

Video: Free agent market for Lucroy, possible Rockies return

That became obvious in 2015, his first year on the job. The Rockies weren't a factor in the ongoing rumors that become so prevalent leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trading Deadline, but three days before then, in the aftermath of a game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Bridich caught most everybody, including veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, by surprise.

He dealt Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays for pitching prospects Jesus Tinoco, Miguel Castro and Jeff Hoffman, while also assuming veteran shortstop Jose Reyes and his contract to offset the financial obligation to Tulowitzki, who did not hide his disgust at not being aware of the trade talks.

And Bridich is not afraid to take a chance.

He signed Desmond, even though Desmond had never played an inning at first base in his previous 13 professional seasons, including eight in the big leagues. A shortstop by trade in his days with the Nationals, his original team, and then an outfielder in his one year with the Rangers (2016), Desmond was seen as a good-enough athlete to step in at first base with the vision that in the long-term, he could be a Ben Zobrist-plus utility player.

Instead of panicking last spring and in the opening months of the season when injuries hit the projected rotation, Bridich, who had been the Rockies' farm director before moving into the GM role, was comfortable by staying within the organization and having a rotation that included four rookies for more than two months.

Video: Harding on Rockies needing to improve the bullpen

In a season which saw the Rockies advance to the postseason for the fourth time in their 25-year existence, those rookies -- Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez and Hoffman -- combined to see Colorado win 53 of the 93 games they started, compared to a 32-35 record when the non-rookies drew a start.

And with a postseason berth in sight, Bridich was willing to give up prospects to bring in a veteran catcher in Lucroy and a veteran reliever in Neshek to help stabilize the Rockies' late-inning situation.

The message can't be ignored.

He may want to keep Holland and Lucroy, be interested in retaining Neshek and even Gonzalez, McGee and Hanigan, but he's not wearing blinders.

That's been apparent in his first three years on the job.

Bridich may be quiet by nature, but when it comes to making a big deal, he's not silent.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colorado Rockies