5 Rox topics from Bridich's ST opening presser

February 11th, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Like the rain that limited Rockies players mostly to the cages on Tuesday, the subject of third baseman 's hard feelings didn’t go away. Still, general manager Jeff Bridich made it the one subject he would not discuss during an otherwise wide-ranging session with media.

“Nothing,” Bridich said when asked to discuss an offseason of trade rumors, and a blowup that saw Arenado criticize Bridich in interviews last month. "There's no comment. I haven't had any comment to this point, so we'll move past that."

Tuesday was the reporting date for pitchers and catchers -- a marker for a club looking to rebound from finishing last year 20 games below .500 and return to being the postseason team it was in 2017 and '18. Having an unhappy superstar in the second year of eight at $260 million hangs in the air. But Bridich, whose team is mostly the same, preferred to focus on what the Rockies can become.

Some takeaways:

1. The Dodgers (Mookie Betts and David Price), D-backs (Madison Bumgarner and Starling Marte) and Padres (Tommy Pham, rebuilt bullpen) added.

With a payroll above market size and a mandate to not tear apart the roster, Bridich tried to make moves but to no avail.

“Sometimes there are things you absolutely need to do,” Bridich said. “Sometimes you want to do things and attempt to do things, and it’s that they just don’t happen.

“As invested people in the game, you watch what other teams are doing, following what’s going on. But if we are solely focused on those things, and only focused on those things and are reactionary to only those things, we’re not doing our jobs.”

2. A new two-year, $27.5 million contract rewards the quiet leadership of shortstop .

“That’s just his natural personality -- he’s always had a natural, quiet strength about him," Bridich said. "Even when he was an 18-year-old, [a] brand new professional, guys just naturally gravitated to him.”

3. Following a season in which the pitching staff ranked last in the National League in starter ERA (5.87) and next-to-last in bullpen ERA (5.18), Bridich challenged every corner of the squad to improve in 2020.

“It’s some of the guys, out of the rotation and in the bullpen, just being themselves and believing in themselves, believing in each other and the things they’ve really done well in the past,” Bridich said. “Offensively, we need to be as consistent as we possibly can and utilize the offensive weapons we have on this team to the best of our ability.

“We have good competition in this division -- strong teams, strong players. We have to play well as a group. Defensively, we’ve done pretty well, especially in the infield, and we have to continue that to support our pitching.”

4. Three rotation spots are set, with righties , and needing-to-rebound lefty . But the fits and starts of righties , and have to somehow lead to consistency.

“That’s the type of opportunity you’re looking for -- the real, true ability to go out and earn a job,” Bridich said. “We have a number of guys who are in that stage of their career where they’re moving out of newbie phase, the rookie phase, and into more of that young veteran phase.”

5. Bridich has had enough of the strife and dour predictions of the Hot Stove.

“Winter is a long winter, no matter what -- if you got a lot going on, if you don’t; coming off a great year or if you don’t. Once you get to January, you’re chomping at the bit to get here,” Bridich said. “If you work in baseball, spring is always what you’re looking for.”