1:41PM: The Rockies have officially announced Schmidt as the new interim GM. As per the team’s press release, “Schmidt will oversee all aspects of the club’s baseball operations,” which would perhaps imply that Feasel will either return his focus to business operations, or simply that Schmidt is the top voice in all baseball-related matters.
1:05PM: Rockies vice-president of scouting Bill Schmidt is expected to be named the club’s interim general manager, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports (Twitter link). After former GM Jeff Bridich resigned last week, there had been speculation that an internal name would take on the interim position, with Schmidt and assistant general managers Zack Rosenthal, Jon Weil, and Zach Wilson all floated as potential candidates to assume the role.
Schmidt has almost four decades of experience in pro baseball, beginning as a minor league coach in the Reds, Brewers, and Yankees organizations while also working as a scout with the Reds and Yankees. After working as a crosschecker with the Indians for four seasons, Schmidt joined the Rockies in 1999 and has become a fixture of the organization, assuming his current VP-scouting job in 2007.
Harding notes that Schmidt has been in charge of the Rockies’ drafts since 2000, which is a positive sign given how much notable homegrown talent the club has been able to find over the years. The larger issue, of course, has been how that talent has been been developed and utilized by a Rockies franchise that has struggled to put a consistent winner on the field — the Rox have topped the .500 mark just six times in Schmidt’s 21+ seasons in Denver. Building around that in-house talent was Bridich’s largest pitfall as GM, not to mention his falling-out with Nolan Arenado (speaking of prominent homegrown Rockies stars) that led to Arenado’s trade to the Cardinals.
The Rockies announced last week that the interim general manager would run the team for the remainder of the 2021 season, with team president Greg Feasel overseeing the baseball operations department on top of his previous responsibilities running the business operations. A search for a permanent GM (and possibly a head of baseball operations) will take place after the season.
Schmidt faces some immediate decisions, as the 10-18 Rockies are in last place and are the only NL West team with a losing record. If the team decides to rebuild, Schmidt might oversee some of the initial heavy lifting, such as potentially moving impending free agents Trevor Story and Jon Gray before the July 30th trade deadline.
With that in mind, the 2021 campaign could serve as something of an audition for Schmidt. Since owner Dick Monfort is known to value continuity and familiarity, it isn’t out of the question that Schmidt could be a candidate to become the full-time GM. Given that the Rockies have long been accused of an insular approach, the Colorado fanbase likely wouldn’t be pleased at another internal promotion, as it has been widely speculated that the Rockies would benefit from some fresh perspectives and a new approach in the baseball ops department (and less interference from Monfort).