Bridich becomes new Rockies GM; O’Dowd, Geivett resign
DENVER — Jeff Bridich, who has spent 10 seasons in the Rockies’ front office, has been promoted to general manager, multiple Major League sources have told MLB.com. The shakeup, which make Bridich the third GM in Rockies history, will be announced on Wednesday morning.
In addition, resigning from the Rockies are Dan O’Dowd, who became GM late in the 1999 season and added chief baseball officer to his title during the 2012 season, and Bill Geivett, who has been with the club since 2000 and became senior vice president of Major League operations in the 2012 reorganization that resulted in O’Dowd’s chief baseball officer title.
The GM change, on the heels of a 66-96 performance in 2014 that featured the second-most losses in club history, is more extensive than anticipated. Club officials ended the regular season believing there would be some reshuffling but nothing major. Front-office personnel began meeting late last week, and the new arrangement took focus during meetings Tuesday.
The list of GMs is short in the 22-season history of the Rockies. Bob Gebhard held the job from the franchise’s formative years through the 1999 season, when O’Dowd was hired.
Bridich, 37, is being promoted from senior director of player development, a title he has held since September 2011. He joined the Rockies in 2004 as manager of Minor League operations, and in 2006 became senior director of baseball operations — a job that entailed contract issues, player transactions, payroll management, financial and statistical analysis and rules administration. During that period, Bridich was instrumental in the team’s strategy with arbitration issues.
Before joining the Rockies, Birdich worked in the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball 2001-04 in the department of Minor League contracts and transactions.
Bridich, a Milwaukee native, played four seasons as a catcher and outfielder at Harvard University before graduating in 2000.
O’Dowd’s tenure, which began Sept. 20, 1999, was the fourth-longest in the Majors, behind those of the Giants’ Brian Sabean (starting in 1996), the Athletics’ Billy Beane (Oct. 17, 1997) and the Yankees’ Brian Cashman (Feb. 3, 1998).
O’Dowd, 55, was instrumental in hiring four managers — Buddy Bell (2000-02), Clint Hurdle (2002-09), Jim Tracy (2009-12) and Walt Weiss (2014-14), with Weiss being hired under the arrangement where the club’s day-to-day operation was overseen by Geivett.
The O’Dowd years included four winning seasons and two playoff appearances — a surprise World Series trip in 2007, and an appearance in the National League Division Series in 2009. After the 2009 playoff appearance — a season during which he replaced Hurdle (now the Pirates’ manager) with Tracy — O’Dowd’s peers voted him Sporting News Major League Executive of the Year.
The Rockies went 83-79 in 2010, but late-season injuries and a difficult September stretch nixed a possible playoff run under Tracy. The Rockies have not had a winning season since.
Like Gebhard before him, O’Dowd tried many plans in an effort to overcome the challenge of pitching at altitude. The most radical was an experiment with a four-man starting rotation in 2012, at a time when the rotation was beset with injury and ineffectiveness. The plan was abandoned before that season ended.
When the Rockies shuffled their front office in late 2012, the setup had O’Dowd overseeing plans and policies in the Minor League system during the season and taking total charge during the offseason, with Geivett embedded with the club home and road during the season. Geivett maintained an office in the Rockies’ clubhouse area.
— Thomas Harding
Geivett, 51, joined the Rockies’ front office in November 2000, and oversaw player personnel and the Rockies’ Minor League system before becoming the senior vice president of Major League operations, which carried the dual title of assistant GM. Under the system, Geivett and Weiss were the main spokesmen when it came to the club’s roster-building strategy.
Geivett was in charge of the Minor League system when it was named the Baseball America magazine organization of the year in 2007.
Before joining the Rockies, Geivett worked in the front offices of the Expos, Rays and Dodgers, was a coach and instructor with the Yankees system, and coached collegiately at Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State. Geivett played collegiate ball at UC-Santa Barbara, and played four seasons as an infielder in the Angels system.