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GM on Rox struggles: 'It all needs addressing'

Bridich discusses team's difficulties and Trade Deadline
@harding_at_mlb
July 17, 2019

DENVER -- General manager Jeff Bridich said the Rockies’ downturn -- with 11 losses in 13 games during which the Colorado has been outscored 108-57, including Wednesday afternoon’s 11-8 loss to the Giants at Coors Field -- is making it difficult to formulate an approach to the Trade Deadline at

DENVER -- General manager Jeff Bridich said the Rockies’ downturn -- with 11 losses in 13 games during which the Colorado has been outscored 108-57, including Wednesday afternoon’s 11-8 loss to the Giants at Coors Field -- is making it difficult to formulate an approach to the Trade Deadline at month’s end.

“This group right now is struggling and playing, objectively, just really bad baseball,” Bridich said. “We’re finding ways to lose, collectively as a group, instead of finding ways to win. That does make any sort of Trade Deadline decisions more complicated.

“There’s really no facet of our game, at this level, that is high-quality right now. So there is really no group within the group that stands out. It all needs addressing. It’s all sub-par. So I don’t think there are any quick fixes.”

Two years ago, Bridich added catcher Jonathan Lucroy and relief pitcher Pat Neshek; last year, it was relief pitcher Seunghwan Oh. Both times the Rockies played in the postseason.

“The way that we’ve looked at the Deadline in the past, especially in the recent past, is that if we are truly competing, if we’re showing signs as a team of being a legitimate competitor for being a postseason team, we’re going to do what we can to add to that and strengthen the team,” Bridich said. “Right now, it feels different.

“That’s disappointing.”

The past two years, the Rockies have squeezed solid work out of a young starting rotation, and they have found the right combination out of the bullpen. The big move over the winter was signing Daniel Murphy to provide left-handed production and protection for cleanup hitter Nolan Arenado. Defensively, seeing second baseman DJ LeMahieu sign with the Yankees was a guaranteed step back, but moving Charlie Blackmon from center field to right, Ian Desmond from first base to center and inserting Murphy at first and Ryan McMahon at second figured to give Colorado the best group its roster would allow.

The Rockies, who also made the big splash of signing Arenado for eight years and $260 million, flashed their potential when they were six games above .500 on June 20, but that didn’t last.

“Just watch us play,” Bridich said. “We get a good outing from our starter and we’ll find a way to lose that game through offense or the bullpen or defense. We’ll get a lot of offense one game and our bullpen will come blow it or defense will blow it, or combine. There’s a different way each night, it seems. When that’s your reality in all parts of your team, it’s a tough go to fix all that in one small time period of the year.”

The best chance Colorado has to change the mood is to rediscover its form during a 10-game road trip against the Yankees, Nationals and Reds starting Friday. The club is depending on lefty Kyle Freeland -- who has been as discouraging this year (2-6, 7.39 ERA) as he was impressive last year (fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting) -- to start it at Yankee Stadium.

“We’ve gotta stay close enough until we start playing better,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “If that happens, it’s going to be a good second half.”

This is a team that started 3-12 before getting hot, and Bridich said better play is certainly possible. If not, the decisions will be tough.

There are large contracts in the hands of veteran players. Some of them are Blackmon (starting next year, he can earn at least $74.5 million through 2023 if he exercises his player options for ’22 and ’23), Desmond (guaranteed $25 million 2020-21), Murphy (guaranteed $14 million next year), closer Wade Davis ($18 million next year, and a $15 million player option in 2021 with 30 games finished) and relievers Jake McGee ($9.5 million in 2020) and Bryan Shaw ($9 million in 2020).

MLB.com’s Jon Morosi raised the possibility of teams pursuing starting pitcher Jon Gray or reliever Scott Oberg before the Deadline. But the Rockies would have to get something truly special, since they'd be giving up effective pitchers who are both under team control through 2021.

“Ultimately, the players are the ones with the most effect on a daily basis,” Bridich said. “The manager and the coaches are, on a daily basis, the ones with the second-most effect.

“Honestly, what it really comes down to is the onus on me -- all these guys in uniform are my decisions. That’s not lost on me whatsoever. So I certainly know I can have an effect, and the front office can ultimately have an effect. This time period coming up with the Deadline is one of those time periods of the year where that effect can be felt from a roster perspective.”

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.