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Jeff Bridich on Ian Desmond opting out and signing Matt Kemp

On Tuesday, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich met with reporters via Zoom to discuss recent events impacting the Rockies

A day after Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich and manager Bud Black held a Zoom conference with media to discuss the coming season, Bridich made himself available to the media via Zoom again Tuesday. Within 24 hours of Monday morning’s conference, a lot had changed. We learned Ian Desmond announced he was opting out of playing the 2020 season and Matt Kemp agreed to a minor league deal with the Rockies. What a difference a day makes. In Bridich’s second conference Tuesday afternoon, the two main topics of discussion were Desmond and Kemp.

Ian Desmond opt-out

Prior to the original conference Monday, Bridich said he knew there was a possibility of Desmond opting out but said, “It wasn’t my news to release.”

“We’re fully supportive of Ian and his family and the decision they have made,” Bridich said. “It’s the right decision for him and for them.”

The conversations between the Rockies organization and Demond, as it related to opting out, dated back to last week, but Bridich also said he knew “(Desmond) could change his mind at at any point.” Nothing was final until Desmond was able to tell his teammates and announce it officially himself.

When asked how those discussions were, Bridich was quick to say, “Conversations felt the exact way his written words felt.”

He added they were “from the heart and honest.”

Bridich confirmed Desmond’s decision to opt out this season has no effect on the remainder of his contract other than he will not receive pay for this season. 2020 would have been year four of Desmond’s five-year contract with a club option for 2022.

Under the season’s rules, Desmond does have the right to change his mind and elect to return in 2020, though that seems unlikely.

Matt Kemp signing

News broke Tuesday morning that the Rockies had agreed to terms with Kemp and Bridich confirmed that while the deal isn’t official, Kemp should arrive in Denver sometime in the next 24-48 hours to begin intake like the rest of the players reporting to summer camp.

Bridich discussed having conversations with Kemp at the winter meetings. Kemp would go on to sign a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins. Kemp likely had a clearer path to making the Opening Day roster with Miami than with the Rox.

When 60-man player pools were submitted Sunday, it was apparent that Kemp had been released by the Marlins.

Bridich said Kemp’s agent reached out to the Rockies, sparking further talks. Bridich also said the team was looking to acquire Kemp whether Desmond opted out or not.

When asked about his expected role should Kemp make the big league roster, Bridich discussed how the DH is an obvious benefit and a potential path for Kemp to make the roster.

“We’re well aware of the damage he’s done against us,” Bridich added while discussing Kemp’s desire to keep playing and contribute to the team.

In 178 career games against the Rox, Kemp has batted .314/.365/.611, with 46 home runs and 154 runs batted in.