Rockies news and links for Saturday, May 1, 2021
When the Rockies announced Jeff Bridich was stepping down as General Manager last Monday, the predominant sentiment expressed by Rockies fandom was hope. Hopeful that the franchise (or owner) was finally ready to pick a clear direction with someone new steering the ship, taking strong actions.
Of course, expectations should be tempered when it comes to Dick Monfort. Since he became chairman and CEO of the club in 2011, Monfort has consistently whiffed on handling the front office. In 2012, he restructured the front office and gave Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett confusingly similar roles. After two years of a power struggle, the young Jeff Bridich was chosen as GM. We know how that turned out, but the point I’m making is that it’s up to each fan to believe how much success can be had under Dick Monfort.
Does hiring a new GM this offseason fix all the issues for the Rockies? It depends on how much influence Monfort had in Bridich’s decisions and whether or not he’ll keep imposing it over the next GM.
We’ll never know exactly what the dynamics were in Bridich and owner/CEO Dick Monfort’s working relationship, we just know it led to little success. It was a change that came at a strange time and was probably past due. Nonetheless, the change is here now and the possibilities are exciting.
The biggest possibility is that the team could now decide to enter a real rebuild. Now, entering a rebuild doesn’t mean the team has to lose 90 or 100 plus games for the next two to three years. It just means they churn through players and take a long view approach to every decision. A great example of this is what Farhan Zaidi has done with the Giants. San Francisco is one of the oldest teams in baseball, currently in the middle of a rebuild and, for now, sitting atop the NL West standings. Not to mention, Zaidi has restocked what was a similarly depleted farm system, hired a new coaching staff to focus on development and will have over $100 million coming off of his books this offseason. That, ladies and gentlemen, is threading the needle with a rebuild.
The situations are different but the approach taken can be similar. With the right GM and support of ownership, the Rockies can do it too. If expiring contract players like Trevor Story or Jon Gray don’t want to be a part of that new process then they have to be flipped for the best offer.
Another possibility with a new GM could be a bigger investment in analytics and a bigger role for that data to assist in decisions. As it’s been well reported, the Rockies have previously turned a blind eye to the data when it comes to decisions and strategy. To change that, the new GM would have to get Monfort on board in order to grow what was already one of the smallest analytics department before most left over the offseason. That could be nearly impossible since Monfort doesn’t even know how to delete “Sent From My iPad” from his emails.
Furthermore, that new GM could also decide to clean house on the managing front. GMs usually like to hire their own guys and Bud Black’s contract expires at the end of next season. After last year’s reported losses, it would seem unlikely that Monfort and ownership would be interested in adding an extra financial commitment. So perhaps, after 2022, the new GM could be looking for a manager that reflects and can instill their own philosophies.
No matter who ends up with the Rockies’ GM job, it’s refreshing that some level of accountability has taken place. If Dick Monfort really wants Bridich’s successor to be successful, it’ll be up to himself to give that person the space and resources that they need. The GM job is the one that’s open but hopefully Monfort takes this opportunity to reflect on his own weaknesses. After all, successful sports teams are built from the top down with smart leadership. As long as he’s chairman/CEO, success will always start and end with him.
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Today marks the end of the first month of the MLB season. It’s been an interesting start to say the least. We’ve seen a few really good Rockies starting pitching performances and some really really bad ones. The team had a winless and horrid opening road trip and is still trying to find its footing away from Coors Field. On the flip side, Ryan McMahon is among the league leaders in home runs which is fun.
Kyle Newman and Patrick Saunders try to keep it positive by highlighting some of the fun things this 2021 Rockies club has to offer. They talk about Ryan McMahon, Raimel Tapia and Jon Gray’s performances so far and discuss appreciating Trevor Story.
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