85 days since Nolan Arenado was traded to the Cardinals.
68 days since pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.
26 days since Opening Day.
One day since Jeff Bridich resigned as general manager of the Rockies.
Bridich’s resignation, less than a month into the 2021 season, is a signifying moment that enough was enough. Something boiled over so far that Bridich stepped away just 21 games into the 2021 season. His resignation ends 17 consecutive years of franchise loyalty in an immediate act of severed ties when he could have surely stepped aside last offseason.
Why not bail before Arenado was shipped to St. Louis?
Bridich was a continual inside hire since joining the franchise in 2004. It isn’t to say his loyalty was a fault, being that it earned him a coveted GM title that only 30 people in baseball can claim at any given time. It does provoke more questions, however, for why the fourth week of the 2021 season was the right time for Bridich to call it quits after investing so many years in a franchise.
Something had to be immediate for Bridich to resign on Monday, or else he would have done it much sooner.
Greg Feasel was appointed as team president shortly after Bridich’s resignation, and is now the first to hold the position since the passing of Keli McGregor in 2010. It is unknown whether Feasel would have filled those duties with or without Bridich as GM, but Bridich’s statement on his “recent discussions” with team executives may suggest a new team president was being considered even while the existing GM was still with the team. This would further suggest that Feasel’s hiring was a recent decision that took place after Opening Day—and Bridich’s departure came before what would have been his first ‘demotion’ in 17 years with the franchise.
The timeliness of Bridich’s departure and Feasel’s appointment suggests both moves had something to do with one another. (Both reports were first published on Purple Row within 55 minutes of each other.) Patrick Saunders called Feasel’s signing a “corresponding move.”
Two options are possible: either Bridich finally reached a breaking point, or Monfort told him he was done (at an uncharacteristic time). The official ruling of ‘resignation’ implies it was Bridich that controlled the decision, but the opposite could be true if Monfort played the classic ‘resign or get fired’ card. The hiring of a team president could motivate either side to act: Bridich in response, or Monfort preemptively.
Bridich didn’t explicitly detail his motives in an official statement, but he did provide some degree of insight:
He appears to have taken the high road on his way out, rather than bashing his former employer. Opting for the ‘resign’ designation can preserve Bridich’s chances of being hired by a separate organization—baseball or elsewhere. An official statement by Monfort suggests a comparable high road, even if it just be mere façade to the outside.
Perhaps a better question to ask: Why was Feasel appointed 21 games into the season instead of during the offseason? Was this Monfort’s way of forcing his hand of control without opting to remove Bridich directly? This would honor the time-old tradition of Rockies GM’s and managers walking out on their own terms; Monfort is not the one calling the shots in those cases, or at least not in the 12 years since Clint Hurdle was fired.
It can’t be comforting for Monfort to watch the All-Star Game from his home ballpark with a global audience skeptical of the direction of the host franchise. Monfort may have taken an opportunity to change that discussion with the departure of Bridich, but if the priority was to change the narrative prior to the All-Star Game, it would have been a bigger media splash to do so closer to the game itself. This doesn’t negate that possibility, of course, but it instead opens the possibilities to an even wider range of presumed rationale.
Inefficiency seems to be the only all-encompassing basis for such a departure. Without knowing who drew the final straw, we are left to simply hope that a push toward efficiency will ensue from such an oddly-timed move.
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Rockies GM Jeff Bridich’s tumultuous seven-year tenure comes to an end: “It is time for someone else” | The Denver Post ($)
Patrick Saunders gives the full breakdown from when Bud Black first learned of Bridich’s resignation after the game on Sunday, to the immediate duties of the interim GM, to the responsibility Bridich often wore in the wake of team struggles. Saunders provides a detailed synopsis of the Bridich era, and the details that await us moving forward from now until a full-time general manager is hired.
Bonus material: “There has been speculation that former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle could return to Colorado and fill a role in baseball operations.”
Thomas Harding provides his version of the breaking news, furthering the discussion with insights on Bridich’s trade history and his moves in free agency. Harding’s recap comes complete with the full statements from both Bridich and Monfort.
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