Jeff Bridich is incredible.
Let’s wrap our heads around these past two seasons. Last offseason, Bridich gave his star third baseman Nolan Arenado a massive long-term extension, promising him the ability to win multiple championships alongside one of baseball’s great young stars, Trevor Story, and a plethora of young talent. The Rockies were going to take the Dodgers throne in the NL West. Everything was looking up.
Fast forward just 365 days, and the Rockies have done literally nothing to improve their major league team and Jeff Bridich is actively trying to drive Arenado out of Colorado. Oh how the soon to be mighty have fallen.
It’s never an intelligent move to completely alienate the greatest player in franchise history, but that’s exactly what Jeff Bridich has managed to do. Arenado has said he feels “disrespected” by Bridich, who has seemingly made it a goal to save as much money as possible as opposed to actually doing his job. Now, Arenado seemingly very desperately wants out of Colorado, and the team sucks too.
The Colorado Rockies have five good players, and I’m being generous. Simply put, Jeff Bridich has not put together a team that can succeed at the Major League level. He’s done an awful job at his job.
Outside of Arenado, Trevor Story is the best player on this team by a mile. Story has been worth over 5.0 fWAR each of the past two seasons, earning a spot at the table among baseball’s best shortstops. Not only has he hit 20% above league average each of the previous two seasons, but he’s also one of baseball’s most surehanded shortstops. I feel bad for Story, because he’s stuck in the purgatory that is Denver, Colorado, but he’s really one of baseball’s best players.
We know what David Dahl is. He’s always going to be able to get on base and hit for a high average, but his ceiling is extremely limited. He’s also not a plus glove in the outfield. He’s a good player, but he’s going to be relied upon as a key cog in the Rockies’ lineup, which he is not suited to be.
If Colorado’s ownership really wanted to save money, they could do so by telling Charlie Blackmon to play without a glove, because he pretty much does anyways. He’s an elite hitter, and he has been for some time, but to be an outfielder in Colorado, you can’t completely be inept in the field, and that’s what Blackmon is. That’s very worrisome for a team that can’t afford any miscues whatsoever.
The last “good” player on the Rockies roster is Daniel Murphy, and I have no clue if that’s even a fair assessment of him as a player at this point. What we do know for sure is that he absolutely wasn’t last season, his first in Rockie purple. His batted ball profile does suit Coors well though, and since his game isn’t predicated on speed, I don’t expect a repeat performance in 2020.
The rest of this lineup is disgusting. Ryan McMahon might be half decent, but his value comes from his glove. Glove-first second basemen aren’t exactly guys to clamor over. Sam Hilliard, in his cup of tea in the bigs, was actually half decent. However, he hit to an uncharactistically high number (138 wRC+), so putting up similar production is next to impossible. Rounding out the lineup is Tony Wolters, who might very well be the worst starter in Major League Baseball.
He’s backed up by Drew Butera, who is somehow still playing baseball (albeit barely) in the year 2020. Other guys coming off the bench for the Rockies are Josh Fuentes (who?) and Ian Desmond, who has somehow been worse than either Butera or Wolters since the end of the Obama administration.
I actually don’t mind Garrett Hampson, their back up middle infielder, but again, his game is made up mostly of his glove and speed. That’s not awful in Colorado, but he’s a role player, not a guy expected to make any sort of major positive impact.
Their rotation looked to have the potential to be elite a couple years ago, but a serious lack in production last year is a massive red flag. Jon Gray did bounce back after a borderline abysmal 2018 campaign, and will probably be the Rockies’ #1 starter. However, he is far from the ace the Rockies were promised or expected out of the right-hander.
German Marquez has been Colorado’s most consistent starter over the past couple years, having at least 3.3 RA9-WAR every year since 2017. As a top of the rotation goes, Gray and Marquez aren’t a horrible set-up, but it’s not good enough to even contemplate contention.
The rest of the pitching staff can’t even come close to that claim though. Kyle Freeland was amazing in 2018, but was nothing short of abysmal in his 2019 campaign. Chances are he improves on last season, but he’s not replicating that 2018 campaign or coming anywhere close.
Antonio Senzatela has never been anything more than an innings-eater filling up their 4 spot, and Jeff Hoffman, their presumed 5 starter, just has straight up never been good at the major league level. Their AAA pitching depth, headlined by righty Chris Lambert, isn’t good either.
Jeff Bridich invested insane amounts of money into his bullpen in the past couple years, getting Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw to try and seal out games. What he’s received is a cesspool of mediocrity, at best, and pitching unbecoming of any major leaguer at worst.
None of these guys have even come close to what Bridich and Co. signed them to do, and their contracts are a large part of the season the Rockies organization is falling apart in anarchist flames as we speak.
This team is going to be projected for like 80 wins because they have Nolan Arenado. I get it. He’s baseball twitter’s golden goose. But let’s be realistic here: If Mike Trout can’t will his team to a playoff win in nine years, Nolan Arenado can’t lead the AAA all-star team to enough victories to be competitive.
Don’t let Jeff Bridich fool you. This team is BAD.
Projected Divisional Finish (NL West):
Projected Opening Day Lineup and Rotation (Fangraphs 2020 fWAR Projections for each player in parentheses):
Trevor Story, SS (3.9)
David Dahl, CF (0.9)
Charlie Blackmon, RF (1.9)
Nolan Arenado, 3B (4.5)
Daniel Murphy, 1B (0.7)
Ryan McMahon, 2B (1.0)
Sam Hilliard, LF (-0.4)
Tony Wolters, C (0.6)
Jon Gray (2.9)
German Marquez (3.8)
Kyle Freeland (1.8)
Antonio Senzatela (1.0)
Jeff Hoffman (1.5)