Today brings news that Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich has done the thing that executives love to do after making great efforts to ruin the organizations they run: leave it to someone else to clean up their mess.
Bridich will certainly be remembered as the guy who traded away Nolan Arenado and $50 million for a grab-bag of middling prospects, but we shouldn’t let the white-hot failure of his last offseason in charge of the team distract us from the missteps that defined each of the other six seasons of his tenure. By now all Rockies fans know the list by heart: Bridich spent $70 million on Ian Desmond, splashed a combined $135 million on a cadre of supposedly fearsome relievers who all burned out immediately, thought it was a good idea to pay Daniel Murphy $24 million to play first base, didn’t re-sign DJ LeMahieu, never signed a single free agent who contributed a positive WAR figure to the team, signed Arenado to a big extension and then almost immediately pissed him off so badly that a trade became the only option.
This feels a little weird to say, given how short his run as GM ultimately was and the fact that the Rockies did make the playoffs twice in that span, but Bridich may be leaving Colorado with the dishonor of being the worst GM of the past decade. Other teams certainly outpaced the Rockies in terms of losses and unwatchability and ambient embarrassment over the last seven years, but it’s hard to think of another GM who so thoroughly squandered the opportunities he was given. Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon gave the Rockies had a core that could rival those of the sport’s best hitting teams, and Bridich was given a good chunk of money to spend building around it by a famously frugal ownership group. That he managed to turn a few hundred million dollars in free-agency spending into a negative balance on the WAR ledger, and then alienated and traded Arenado one offseason before Trevor Story’s contract is up, amounts to such a stunning series of fuckups that it’s hard to believe it wasn’t executed on purpose.
And now all of that is a problem the Rockies are trusting can be solved by new Club President Greg Feasel, who has spent his Rockies career on the business side of baseball and does not appear to have any experience in personnel or baseball operations. Good luck to him!