The Rockies have mutually agreed to part ways with general manager Jeff Bridich, per a club announcement on Monday. The move is effective immediately, and the club says it will appoint an interim general manager for the rest of the 2021 season, though one was not announced in conjunction with the Bridich announcement.
The team did announce that former NFL offensive tackle Greg Feasel, who has been overseeing business operations as the COO, has been promoted to president and will now oversee baseball operations. That could signify a willigness on the part of owner Dick Monfort, who has frequently been portrayed through the media as overbearing, to take a step back from his involvement with the baseball operations department — on the other hand, the absence of a full-time GM could enable him to take an even more hands-on role.
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
It was somewhat of a surprise that Bridich, 43, held onto his job as long as he did. The Rockies did snap a long playoff drought under his watch, playing in the NL Wild Card Game in both 2017-18 and reaching the NLDS in ‘18, but they were swept out of the playoffs that year by the Brewers. But those were the only two seasons they went under .500 while he was in charge, and the team posted an overall 426-466 record with Bridich as GM. He traded franchise icon Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays in 2015 for a package headlined by Jose Reyes, who played in just 47 games with Colorado before being released due to a domestic violence incident.
He gave Ian Desmond, who had never played first base, a five-year, $70 million deal contract to play that position in Colorado, though Desmond later ended up moving to the outfield and posted a -2.5 bWAR and an OPS+ that was 18 points below league average over three seasons in Colorado (he has not played since 2019 and is currently on the restricted list due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic).
He allowed second baseman DJ LeMahieu, the 2016 major league batting title winner and a three-time Gold Glove winner, to walk in free agency after the 2018 season. LeMahieu has gone on to post a .330/.382/.519 slash line over three seasons with the Yankees and has finished in the top five in AL MVP voting over each of the past two seasons. Meanwhile, veteran Daniel Murphy, who was signed to ostensibly fill Murphy’s spot in the lineup, posted an OPS+ that was 18 points below league average over two seasons in Colorado and retired after the 2020 campaign.
Worst of all, Bridich signed third baseman Nolan Arenado — quite possibly the best player in franchise history — to an eight-year, $260 million contract prior to the 2019 season, only to make no effort to build around Arenado over the next two seasons. Prior to this season, they paid roughly $50 million to make Arenado go away, dealing him to the Cardinals in exchange for left-hander Austin Gomber and a package of mid-level prospects.
Colorado has an obvious shortage of talent at the major league level and has just one prospect ranked among the top 100 in baseball by MLB Pipeline, so Bridich’s replacement will have his work cut out for him or her. For the time being, the Rockies will need to find an executive who can get them through the final 141 games of what projects to be a challenging 2021 season.