MVP of the Rock­ies? How about their GM?

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - MARK KISZLA Den­ver Post Colum­nist

On your feet, every­body. Give it up for Rock­ies gen­eral man­ager Jeff Bridich. He de­serves a stand­ing ova­tion. In a year when Colorado is bet­ter than any­body’s wildest dreams, no­body on the team is hav­ing a dreamier sea­son than Bridich.

It was Bridich who changed the nar­ra­tive of a fran­chise with a long his­tory of scuf­fling through sum­mer. Way back in the dead of win­ter, Bridich said it was time for the Rock­ies to step up and win. Not next year. Now.

De­spite a re­cent eight-game los­ing streak that re­vealed holes in the bat­ting order and ex­posed the youth in the start­ing ro­ta­tion, the Rock­ies have ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve there will be a 163rd game after the reg­u­lar sea­son is done. Play­offs? Yes, we’re talk­ing play­offs.

So let’s is­sue mid­sea­son grades for the play­ers Bridich has re­cently added to the Colorado ros­ter. While Nolan Are­nado is wor­thy of MVP con­sid­er­a­tion and Char­lie Blackmon is as dangerous a lead­off hit­ter as you will find any­where in the ma­jor leagues, the Rock­ies could not pos­si­bly have won more than 50 games be­fore the all-star break without the moves made by Bridich.

Greg Hol­land: A-plus

The New York Yan­kees did a very Yan­kees thing, bring­ing back closer Aroldis Chap­man, sign­ing him straight from the Chicago Cubs’ victory pa­rade, for the tidy sum of $86 million. Chap­man has earned 17 saves for the Yan­kees, but also has bat­tled a shoul­der in­jury.

Wasn’t it Hol­land, com­ing off Tommy John surgery, who was sup­posed to be the risky in­vest­ment? Bridich signed him for the bar­gain price of $7 million guar­an­teed in 2017. And Hol­land has been lights out. His pres­ence in the ninth in­ning has com­pletely re­shaped the way Colorado thinks about it­self as a team, which is why I con­sider him the MVP of a fast start that has made a play­off berth pos­si­ble. And if the Rock­ies can take a lead into the ninth in­ning of Game No. 163, why will they win it? Hol­land.

Mark Reynolds: A

Reynolds was con­sid­ered a dis­pos­able part. He was out on the street, look­ing for work. Then the Rock­ies de­cided to bring Reynolds back, at the bar­gain price of $1.5 million. All Reynolds has done is play stel­lar de­fense at first base, while rank­ing among the Na­tional League lead­ers in home runs since April.

Did Bridich get lucky with Reynolds? Darn right he did. Reynolds, how­ever, is ex­actly the kind of luck a team with a bud­get needs to do bat­tle with the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, who spend money as if the bills never come due.

Alexi Amarista: B

The grind of a base­ball sea­son is sweaty, not pretty. At first glance, there is not any­thing par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive about Amarista, from his 5-foot-6 stature to his .232 ca­reer bat­ting av­er­age.

Amarista, how­ever, is a player man­ager Bud Black knows and trusts, from the time they spent to­gether with the San Diego Padres. On any given day, Black is unafraid to toss Amarista in any sit­u­a­tion. Isn’t that the def­i­ni­tion of a util­ity player? For a salary of $1.25 million, Amarista has been a bar­gain.

Mike Dunn: C-mi­nus

This is what’s known as a gen­tle­man’s C. If I wasn’t such a gen­tle­man, there would be scream­ing and yelling about Bridich need­ing to hop on his cell­phone and get a trade done for a more reli­able re­lief pitcher. For ex­am­ple: Pat Neshek of Philadel­phia.

After post­ing an earned run av­er­age of 1.17 in April, Dunn was roughed up for a 9.35 ERA in May and a 6.30 ERA in June. There have been hints of late he might round into form. The Rock­ies bet­ter hope so. Bridich signed Dunn to a three-year, $19 million deal.

Ian Des­mond: D

This deal never made sense to me. The Rock­ies gave Des­mond $70 million and a first base­man’s mitt, to learn a po­si­tion un­fa­mil­iar to him. At the ma­jor­league level. Dur­ing games that count in the stand­ings. Say what?

This has been one ex­pen­sive ex­per­i­ment. And, thus far, it has been a flop.

It is not Des­mond’s fault he has bat­tled in­juries. But in the 57 games Des­mond has been avail­able, he has been al­most in­vis­i­ble, bat­ting an ex­cep­tion­ally quiet .283, draw­ing only 10 walks and hit­ting only five home runs, lead­ing to an OPS of .709. That’s be­low re­place­ment level, not a cor­ner­stone of the fu­ture that I al­ways be­lieved Bridich hired to be a long-term re­place­ment for Car­los Gon­za­lez. If the Rock­ies want to be a fac­tor in Oc­to­ber, Des­mond had bet­ter get well in a hurry. Please.

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