Executive Vice President/General Manager Jeff Bridich is no longer an employee of the Colorado Rockies.
It was announced Monday morning that both Bridich and the club have “mutually agreed” to part ways:
Rockies General Manager Jeff Bridich steps down and Greg Feasel has been named Club President. pic.twitter.com/nk3HyHYBu8— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 26, 2021
Bridich had been affiliated with the Rockies since 2004, rising to senior director of baseball operations in 2006 and eventually senior director of player development in 2011. When former GM Dan O’Dowd stepped down after the 2014 season, it was Bridich, appointed by team owner Dick Monfort, to take over the reigns as the new general manager.
Something has boiled over. We do not currently know the motives behind Bridich’s departure, but an April exodus suggests a rift that was insurmountable to last through the 2021 season. The GM released this statement:
Just a month ago, it was revealed by The Athletic that the Rockies had their analytics team doubling as clubhouse managers during the 2020 season. Under those provisions, it is understandable why a GM would not feel in the best position to succeed. Many of the analysts that were employed by the Rockies are no longer with the franchise. Paired with some poor-performing free agent deals, Bridich had little to work with in terms of spending and analyzing.
Should the Rockies finally declare a rebuild, it will not be with Bridich in charge.
Bridich’s most successful seasons came in 2017 and 2018, reaching the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. After a poor showing in the 2017 Wild Card Game, Bridich spent $108 million on three-year reliever contracts for Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw. None of the three finished the duration of their contracts.
Bridich’s continued struggles in the free-agent market were represented through the signing of Daniel Murphy and Ian Desmond. Colorado declined to retain D.J. LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino during the same timeframe. The Rockies did manage a victory against the Cubs in the 2018 Wild Card Game, but were later swept in the NLDS by the Brewers. That was the Rockies’ sole playoff win during Bridich’s tenure as general manager.
The presumable framework on “working relationships” within the organization has been laid by O’Dowd and former managers Jim Tracy and Walt Weiss. O’Dowd reportedly turned down an extension for the GM position after 2014. The Rockies also saw the departure of Tracy after the 2012 season when he didn’t feel that he was the “right man” for the manager job. This may have been a polite formality by Tracy: just four years later, Weiss stepped down from the same position, citing a “poor personal and working relationship” with Jeff Bridich. The ongoing bitterness may have been represented no better than by star third baseman Nolan Arenado leading up to his trade to the Cardinals.
Only one executive for the Rockies has overseen each rift: Dick Monfort.
The Rockies were unable to assemble the contender that Arenado was looking to play for when he signed an eight-year deal intended to keep him in Denver through 2026. Bridich was forced to work with a thin pocketbook after the Arenado extension and when many of his free-agent deals did not pan out. Along with continued spending limitations in the wake of COVID-19, the Rockies found themselves with their financial hands tied—so much so that their data analysts began washing clothes.
Bridich’s hands are no longer tied, but an interim GM will be forced to decide what to do with shortstop Trevor Story and starter Jon Gray—both in contract years.
The Rockies have announced they will be “appointing an interim general manager for the remainder of the season,” and that a comprehensive search will be conducted upon the conclusion of the 2021 season. The interim GM has not yet been announced, but they hold the contract-year fate of Story and Gray in their fingertips. The long-term status of the Rockies could be put on hold until at least November when a full-time GM takes over.
Purple Row will continue to update this ongoing story.