In a letter sent to season ticket holders in October, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort promised season ticket holders that the team was going to shell out some money this offseason. Monfort emphasized that he and general manager Jeff Bridich wanted to transform this roster from one that had some promise into one that could make the playoffs in 2017.
Two months later, Bridich and the Rockies’ brass don’t seem to have backed off from that plan. Bridich, who’s at the Winter Meetings in Oxon Hill, Maryland, joined the MLB Network on Monday night and reiterated the Rockies’ plans to be aggressive in free agency.
He was asked about the Rockies’ growth last year, when promising young players like Trevor Story, Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson enjoyed fine seasons, while veterans like Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and D.J. LeMahieu had career years.
Here’s what he said:
“It’s part of an overall growth plan. It’s kind of been in the works. It’s not some revelation. … Maybe it means being a little more aggressive. Maybe it means being a little more opportunistic than what we’re typically used to. It’s fun. It’s good for us in certain ways to be uncomfortable and thinking about doing things differently than in the past.”
Those are pretty encouraging words from the GM of a franchise that’s been accused of being cheap in the past. The Rockies have holes at first base and in the bullpen, which was among the worst in baseball last season. How the team plugs them could go a long way in determining if Colorado competes for a playoff spot that’s eluded it since 2009.
The Rockies have also indicated that right fielder Carlos Gonzalez will be in the opening day lineup, which is further proof that they plan to make a playoff push in 2017.
Gonzalez, 30, has one year left on his current deal. He’s owed $20 million. The Rockies could almost assuredly unload Gonzalez — coming off a 25- home-run, 100-RBI season — for prospects if they wanted to. But keeping him indicates that the club is in win-now mode.
That’s exciting. Colorado’s lineup looks dangerous. Its pitching staff — with a core of Gray, Anderson, Tyler Chatwood and Chad Bettis — looks the most promising it has in years.
There are upgrades to be made, which Bridich acknowledged. We’ll see how the rest of the Winter Meetings shake out.
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