In every sport, there’s a lot of criticism heaped upon general managers. There is criticism for free agent moves made, criticism for draft picks made and criticism for comments made.
Most of the time, the criticism should be there and is justified. I mean, how else would you keep teams in check with the moves that are made or what is said?
But other times, the criticism is unfair and sometimes people want to criticize for the sake of criticizing. For instance, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich in recent weeks has faced a lot of criticism. Most of it is surrounding comments he made to AT&T Sports Network’s Drew Goodman in the Rockies announcer’s recently released book with co-author Benjamin Hochman, “Stories from the Colorado Rockies Dugout, Locker Room, and Press Box.”
Bridich expressed comments in the book like this one about the media members who cover the team on a daily basis: “It’d be like if I went to a hospital every day and wrote a blog about the job done by one of the surgeons and the things he screwed up. That’s crazy. I know nothing about brain surgery, nor have I ever even worked on the path to become a brain surgeon. That’s what goes on in this industry and other sports industries.”
Yes, he should face some ridicule for that comment that was made, as well as others. Basically telling beat writers that they don’t know what they’re saying will definitely rub everyone the wrong way.
I can’t blame fans or media for feeling negatively towards that. However, I’ve heard and seen a lot of criticism this week carry over from his comments about Bridich the GM and the roster moves he has made, including this week’s 2019 Rockies draft class. I’m here to tell you that the negative feelings towards Bridich should stop at the comments he’s made.
I’m not going to say that Bridich is the greatest GM in the history of sports or baseball. But I will say that the Rockies general manager has done a phenomenal job building the team to be a playoff/World Series contender every year.
This shouldn’t be taken for granted. The Rockies seem to get better and better every year, even with playing in one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball, the National League West.
Yes, there have been some signings that haven’t been huge bright spots for Bridich. But that’s part of the game, especially when you’re competing against teams like the Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Cubs, etc. every year. Those teams can throw more money at free agents than Colorado can. For every failure, though, Bridich has also succeeded with his signings to stabilize the Rockies every season.
You can look at Bridich’s signings and point out the negatives. Ian Desmond has really underperformed. Bryan Shaw has struggled at times. Daniel Murphy got off to a slow start this season. He’s given a little too much money to players like Mark Reynolds and others.
Those players on the other hand balance out the Rockies roster, though. Without Desmond, Shaw, Reynolds, Chris Iannetta and others, the Rockies would be lacking depth and lacking experience on their roster. The Rockies wouldn’t be the team they are without those players. Could they still be a good team? Possibly, although the team’s chemistry mixed with their current pieces makes this team who they are right now.
What also gets swept underneath the rug when talking about Bridich is the fact that he’s signed the team’s big-name stars, keeping them in town. When Bridich took over in 2015, the Rockies were in the market to ship shortstop Troy Tulowitzki off and the future of the ball club was somewhat unknown when it comes to knowing who the team’s stars were going to be. Four years later, the Rockies have multiple star players and contracts for those guys to show for it.
Nolan Arenado won’t be allowed, in at least the short term, to test the free agent waters. Same goes for Charlie Blackmon, who will be patrolling the outfield for the Rockies for at least the foreseeable future. For a franchise that struggled for so long to keep star players like Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki and others in town, the team now seems stable and can keep star players playing at 20th and Blake.
The last part of this argument in why Bridich should be mostly commended in the that job he’s done here is the fact that he’s scouted and drafted really well. In today’s game, that is probably the most important quality you can have as a GM.
Bridich has overseen great drafts since being promoted to GM, the most notable of course being SS/2B Brendan Rodgers, who is rated as MLB.com’s No. 10 overall prospect in all of baseball. Rodgers now is providing a spark at second base for the team this season, as they hope to make a playoff run.
Other top prospects include corner infielder Colton Welker (may get some time in the majors this year), right handed pitcher Peter Lambert (playing this Thursday) and other top arms/bats that will be a difference maker in the years to come for the team. Not to mention, newly drafted first baseman Michael Toglia out of UCLA, who will provide the Rockies another system with another switch-hitting power bat in the next few years.
I’ve seen some saying Bridich should take a pitcher every year in the first round of the draft. Or that Bridich should take a pitcher every round of the draft because the team always needs pitching help at altitude. Just stop it. Bridich is doing what the Rockies should do every year, draft impactful players that will make a difference. Toglia can be a 30-40 home run guy every year and hit in the heart of the lineup.
This year’s draft was weak for pitchers; that’s why so many position players (mostly college players) were taken early and later on. Obviously, some of these drafted players may be busts, but the Rockies had the right strategy. This is just another example of how criticism for Bridich has carried over to criticizing his building of the team, when it shouldn’t be.
The bottom line is, Jeff Bridich should face criticism for some of the comments that he’s made. Let’s not get carried away though and criticize him as a general manager.
The moves he’s made haven’t been perfect, but he’s made a lot of really good moves, including through the draft that will carry the Rockies to relevancy for years and years. If you don’t like Bridich as a person, that’s fine. Don’t hate Bridich as a general manager though.
Bridich is a positive for the Rockies, not a negative. And if you think he is a negative, just sit back and recall the Dan O’Dowd years of what the Rockies were. Maybe you’ll think a little differently about Jeff Bridich.
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