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Bridich: Tough NL West makes Rockies better

Colorado GM discusses effect of competitive division, deal for closer Davis
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- The challenge of chasing the Dodgers and the D-backs -- and bracing for an improved Giants club -- in the tough National League West is incentive for the Rockies to push for better, general manager Jeff Bridich said Tuesday on "High Heat" on MLB Network.

The division was so strong in 2017 that the Rockies made their first postseason appearance since '09, but they still finished third behind Los Angeles, which led the Majors in wins en route to its fifth straight division title, and Arizona. San Francisco, a perennial contender, aims to improve after finishing last.

DENVER -- The challenge of chasing the Dodgers and the D-backs -- and bracing for an improved Giants club -- in the tough National League West is incentive for the Rockies to push for better, general manager Jeff Bridich said Tuesday on "High Heat" on MLB Network.

The division was so strong in 2017 that the Rockies made their first postseason appearance since '09, but they still finished third behind Los Angeles, which led the Majors in wins en route to its fifth straight division title, and Arizona. San Francisco, a perennial contender, aims to improve after finishing last.

"Personally, I think it's awesome that our division is so strong right now," Bridich said. "It definitely makes you better. It forces you to have aggressive expectations -- reachable, but aggressive.

"It forces you to really understand yourself well, because there's a lot of good stuff that happens during the course of the year. There's a lot of challenging stuff that happens because the teams are so good. If you don't self-evaluate well and you're not honest about what you're good at, what your needs are and what you can improve, then you're probably not going to get better."

An emphasis on the bullpen over the past couple of seasons culminated last week in the three-year, $52 million contract for Wade Davis, who closed for the Royals in the 2015 World Series and was the Cubs' closer last season. Davis replaces Greg Holland, who earned 41 saves last season and is still on the market.

Video: Jeff Bridich discusses process of signing Wade Davis

Bridich characterized the signing as the Rockies paying the going price for a closer -- Davis' $17.3 million average annual value barely surpassed that of the $17.2 million Aroldis Chapman averages over the five-year deal he signed with the Yankees last year -- rather than the club overpaying because of the notion that pitchers need extra incentive to pitch home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

The three-year, $27 million deals for setup men Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw also were in line with top relievers their age.

Bridich was happy with the length of the Davis deal. Davis can earn a player option on a fourth year, at $15 million, should he finish 30 games in 2020.

"Part of the deal that was the control -- there is tolerance on the length," said Bridich, who also reiterated that the team is looking at the free-agent market and deciding whether to pursue one more hitter. "Three years is pretty typical now, for -- whether it's closers or not closers -- the elite guys in the 'pen. They're getting three years across the board.

"To get impactful guys that want to come and compete for us, and feel this is a good spot for them in their career when they have choice -- for a lot of guys the first time in their careers -- that's a great thing for us. We're excited about that."

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.

 

Colorado Rockies, Wade Davis