Bridich Finds Comfort In Seeing Arenado on the Field in a Rockies Uniform
The text messages Nolan Arenado shared with media members a month ago created a stir concerning a falling out between the third baseman and general manager Jeff Bridich.
It, however, is spring training now, and Arenado checked into the Rockies camp on Sunday, making it clear that his focus is on doing whatever he can to get the Rockies back into the post-season after a 2019 season that turned into an injury-plagued nightmare and resulted in the Rockies needing to win Game 162 to avoid finishing in last place.
And that is exactly what Bridich expected.
After refusing to get involved in a public fued with the Rockies All-Star third baseman ever since Arenado's complaints surfaced, Bridich broke his silence during the Media Session that Major League Baseball holds in Arizona and Florida during spring training, and made it clear he's concerned about what the Rockies do on the field, not any he-said-she-said moments.
And he is confident that Arenado will be a key to the team's rebound, just like he was during their back-to-back post-season appearances in 2017-18.
"Sometimes there are professional disagreements," Bridich said, "but apart from that, we've never really handled internal issues publicly. A lot of that is out of respect to the organization. It's out of respect to the players in the organization. I think it is appropriate that a lot of inner-team business is kept inside. That's why I haven't been making statements."
Bridich, however, will talk about expectations for the coming season, and the role Arenado will play.
"You think back to less than a year ago, when we were on the dais talking about (Arenado's eight-year, $260 million deal) and all those things that we said publicly in terms of the elite level of talent, the elite-level work, work ethic and his own expectation to play well, to be one of the best players in the game," said Bridich. "All of that still rings true right now. There's absolutely no wavering in our mind whatsoever."
For all the disappointment in last year, Bridich said there is reason to look forward to this year because the Rockies roster continuity means the roster still has the bulk of the players from the teams that claimed NL wild-card slots in 2017 and 2018, forcing a Game 163 with the Dodgers to decide the NL West champion in 2018.
"The great thing each spring training is there is a sense of belief in the group," said Bridich. "One of the nice things about this group is there are so many guys still here from 2017, 2018. There is a core that knows what it takes to be a playoff team."
And they, along with the front office, ownership and the fans know that Arenado is a key to the Rockies post-season dreams. And Arenado embraces that.
"You know Nolan is confident, 100 percent confident," said Bridich. "He brings a level of intensity. He brings a competitiveness."
And that's why he is still on the Rockies roster. He's still the cornerstone on which the team feels it can build success.