This week, in a move to clear space on the 40-man roster, the Rockies and GM Jeff Bridich cut ties with both Brooks Brown and Michael McKenry. Brown was claimed almost immediately by the Dodgers, who continue their plan to create a bullpen of Rockies castoffs that will ruin our lives.
Meanwhile, McKenry became a free agent, where he will likely sign a minor league deal on just about any team looking for catching depth. He’ll probably break camp with said team, and in June or July he will likely visit Coors Field and crush three doubles and a home run off Rockies pitching in a 12-3 blowout, allowing the hot takes to successfully attach themselves to evidence.
Looking beyond the obvious likelihood that both of these players will destroy the Rockies in 2016 like so many former Rockies before them, there is now a large enough sample to deduce a genuine attack plan in the Rockies board room.
Jeff Bridich is tired of alliterative names, and he refuses to pay people who have them.
Much like Eagles coach and GM Chip Kelly’s plan to remove his roster of black players, Jeff Bridich is in all-out war mode against those who were unfortunately given first names that start with the same letter as their last name.
It started with the trade of Troy Tulowitzki.
The star shortstop was the Rockies' most valuable trade piece, and Bridich used it to load up the farm system with pitching talent; at least, this plan is the story the media gave you. But look between the lines, and you’ll see that all three players acquired for Tulo did not have repeating initials.
Brown and McKenry were the next victims. Nobody is saying they were key cogs in the Rockies' future, but the depth they both provided is something that’s already been looked at on this website. McKenry was an energy bat off the bench and spelled Hundley successfully over the last two seasons. Throughout 2014 and 2015, we were shown that Mike was more than a Wes Welker lookalike contest winner (though they share the fate of alliterative abuse). He could be a good bench bat and a solid backup catcher.
Some of you might point to the fact McKenry hit .205 in 2015, and that maybe 2014 was an outlying season where he benefited from a .381 BABIP, which was nearly 100 points higher than his previous career high. Some of you might also point to the fact that McKenry was likely going to receive over a million dollars in salary in 2015, while Dustin Garneau and Tom Murphy are still on rookie deals. Which makes it a smart team decision to not only get young guys more playing time but also gives the team a little more money to play with in 2016 free agency.
How nice of all of you to have a story so clean cut.
Some of you might even use that same story to point out that Brooks Brown is a 30-year-old reliever whose 26 good innings in 2014 might be the best he’ll ever do, and the Rockies were smart to clear the bullpen of an aging arm as they rebuild that portion of their pitching staff for the future.
But when the Rockies release Gonzalez Germen and refuse to re-sign Daniel Descalso after the season, who will you look to then?
When Walt Weiss isn’t extended and the Rockies move for a manager that can help maintain a young, talented squad of the distinctively initialed in 2017—your Jeff Hoffmans and Trevor Storys and David M. Dahls (shut up)—that can win, what will you think?
Baseball teams can be constructed many ways; I can think of at least four ways right now without even trying. One of these ways is through a quality pitching model that focuses on attacking each hitter’s weakest points to force them into bad situations, and another is through personal vendettas against certain types of players.
It's happened before. Noted tough guy Nolan Ryan used his own tough guy way to construct a very good Rangers squad by not signing any untough guys who might shy away from inside pitches or steroids. Health be damned.
Jeff Bridich is taking a page from the ol' Express by constructing a team of players that shape up to his standards. Standards that include not being a dweeb whose parents thought it would be cute for their child's initials to have repeating letters.
The evidence is there, you guys. I didn’t just create this out of thin air! The writing is on the wall. We can’t be so blind anymore. Repeating initials are a thing of the past in Denver, and only time will tell if it’s a smart move or one that sends this JB "Overboard."*
*Overboard is a song by Justin Bieber, JB to his friends... just like a certain General Manager.