1:21 PM MT: Kyle Newman has additional comments from Monfort that came after his statements at the Greeley Friends of Baseball event.
Among other comments, Monfort said the situation between Arenado and Bridich has been “blown out of proportion.” He said the issue “is down the pecking list.” He also lamented critics not recognizing the “accomplishments (Bridich) has made.”
Monfort said people who are upset by the team’s inactivity this offseason have a “fair” argument but stressed they are “(living) within (their) means” in terms of team payroll.
The original story follows:
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After staying silent at last Saturday’s Rockies Fest, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort opened up this morning at the Greeley Friends of Baseball event.
The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman reported on the very positive feeling about the 2020 Rockies, in which Monfort said he sees 2019 as “an anomaly” and makes the following prediction:
“In ’08, with basically the exact same team (as ’07), we won 74 games and lost 88,” Monfort said. “But like a great American hero, Forrest Gump, once said, ‘(Stuff) happens.’ And that’s what happened in ’08, because in ’09 we won 92 and lost 70. Most of the people I talk to that were on those teams say the ’09 team was our greatest team.
“I interpolated ’07, ’08 and ’09 — I had an analytical staff go through and interpolate those numbers — and so in 2020, we’ll win 94 games and lose 68.”
A 94-win season would mark a franchise-best record for the Rockies. It’s also worth noting that the Rockies made significant changes in the 2008 offseason, including trading Matt Holliday for Huston Street and Carlos González.
Monfort is also confident in the pitching, saying, “We have a lot of pitching (overall), we’re going to have a better bullpen and there are some guys who are going to bounce back.” While no one knows how Freeland will fare in 2020, he explained at Rockies Fest that he’s significantly changed his delivery, omitting what Bud Black has called his “flamingo pause.”
That said, the Rockies cut pitchers Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis, and there are still questions as to whom will take their places in the rotation. At this point, Antonio Senzatela (who lost 15 pounds in the offseason) and Chi Chi González (about whom Black spoke positively at Rockies Fest) appear positioned to fill out the rotation. Jeff Hoffman is also a possibility as he is out of minor league options, but he could also factor into the bullpen mix. That said, there are questions as to the effectiveness of all three in the starting rotation.
Newman reported that Monfort did not comment on the Nolan Arenado situation.
The Rockies remain the only team to not add a major league guaranteed contract to their roster this offseason, whether through a trade or a free agent signing. Judging by Monfort’s comments, he believes the team is ready to contend without any outside expenditures, but it’s a bit concerning for a team that won only 71 games last year to be continuing on the same course.
For a fanbase that has spent the offseason agonizing over front-office inaction and rumors of an Arenado trade, Monfort’s optimism was not reassuring.
Baseball Twitter reacted swiftly:
This might be the dumbest thing I've ever heard anyone in baseball say, ever. I can't even describe it accurately as the words necessary to describe this troglodytic spewing are unavailable in any language I can speak. https://t.co/6hXvE0zNP2— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) February 1, 2020
— Mike Axisa (@mikeaxisa) February 1, 2020
(via https://t.co/DPFPxaAvak) pic.twitter.com/OJtojxtFoA
Dick Monfort is the gift that keeps on giving.— Craig Goldstein (@cdgoldstein) February 1, 2020
Not to Rockies fans, of course.
Alright let's start a crowdfunder to buy the Rockies. I'll chip in $50— Ryan Freemyer (@RFreemyer) February 1, 2020
If nothing else, Monfort remained optimistic about his team’s upcoming season. “I know we’ll have more fun than we had last year,” he added. “Hopefully we have another magical season like ’07.”
Speaking for myself, I would like to make clear that I am NOT having more fun this year than I had last year. Baseball itself can be fun, but winning makes it even more fun.
Monfort’s optimism is an outlier when compared to other projections for the 2020 Rockies (see, for example, here, here, and here). The Rockies didn’t do a lot of winning in 2019 and it’s hard to say if they’ll do much more of it in 2020, especially with the lack of activity in the offseason.
This was Monfort’s first time addressing fans since news of the rift between Arenado and Bridich became public and rather than providing insight into the team’s plans, his comments seem more about reassuring himself and potential ticket buyers. The only thing we can do now is wait to see which projection becomes more true.