Assessing 2023 MLB front offices: Bill Schmidt and the Colorado Rockies hit a historic low

Bill Schmidt's work as GM of the Colorado Rockies produced few positive outcomes, ranking his front office toward the bottom during 2023.
Los Angeles Angels v Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Angels v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Bill Schmidt front office WAA impact for the Colorado Rockies: -7.2 games. Rank in MLB: 27. Rank in division: 4.

It must really be difficult to watch Bill Schmidt run the Colorado Rockies' fortunes right now.

Not only are the Rockies bad (59-103 this year, 201-284 since Schmidt took over from Jeff Bridich in 2021), they’re not getting better. In 2023, Schmidt not only had the third-worst short-term front office rating (-7.2) in the National League, ahead of just the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, he also had the second worst long-term rating (-5.8), ahead of only the Cincinnati Reds.

Those numbers reflect the net impact, as measured by Wins Above Average, of all moves made by Schmidt that impacted Colorado’s major league roster.

WAA is used in this series of front office evaluations because it is a zero-based version of WAR, therefore enabling valid approximations of impact against wins and losses.

Since the conclusion of the 2022 postseason, Schmidt and the Rockies leadership team made 51 personnel moves affecting a major league roster. Only 18 of those 51 moves worked to the benefit of the Rockies, while 29 produced a negative impact (four were neutral). The sum total of that short-term impact on Colorado 2023 fortunes works out to -7.1 games.

As a practical matter, Schmidt’s profile is even worse than that. His one strength, if you can call it that, lay in knowing which deadbeat players to foist off on unsuspecting opponents. Of nine players traded away, sold or waived by the Rockies to another major league roster since the end of the 2022 season, six produced negative value for the receiving team.

The poisonous giveaways included Mike Moustakas (-1.4), Connor Joe (-0.8) and C.J. Cron (-0.6). That actually ranked the Rockies fourth among the 30 teams in least amount of talent abandoned to the trade market. Beware of Schmidts bearing gifts.

Schmidt’s efforts to identify free agent talent were only harmful to his own club. He signed, re-signed or extended 15 players who did time on the Rockies’ major league roster in 2023, and the sum total effort of those 15 amounted to -5.7 games. That made Schmidt the third least competent GM at identifying and signing free agent talent.

One season earlier, Schmidt had emphasized quality over quantity in his free agent hunting. He got neither, signing Kris Bryant to a multi-year mega deal that Bryant rewarded this season with an injury-plagued -2.1 WAA performance.

Here’s the full short-term and long-term statistical profile on the Schmidt 2023 performance. Again, all figures reflect group Wins Above Average.

Acquired by trade, waiver claim or purchase:

  • Since October 2022: 6 players, -2.6 net impact
  • Prior to October 2022: 2 players, -1.6 net impact

Signed as a free agent or extended for multiple seasons:

  • Since October 2022, 15 players, -5.7 net impact
  • Prior to October 2022, 2 players, -2.5 net impact

System products:

  • Since October 2022, 14 players, -2.8 net impact.
  • Prior to October 2022, 4 players, -3.8 net impact

Traded away, waived, sold, released or lost to free agency:

  • Since October 2022, 16 players, +3.7 net impact
  • Prior to October 2022, 20 players, +4.2 net impact

Things are going so bad in Colorado that not even the legacy of Schmidt’s predecessor, Bridich, is helpful. The Rockies this past season employed 13 players who were bound to the team on contracts Schmidt inherited. Only Ryan McMahon among those Bridich holdovers, at +0.9 WAA, generated positive value exceeding one-half game.

Schmidt worked the Colorado farm system hard, summoning 14 first-year players for various parts of the season. It would be pushing it to say that any stood out, although reliever Justin Lawrence showed some competence. In 69 appearances covering 75 innings, Lawrence produced a 3.72 ERA with 11 saves and a +0.7 WAA.

The Rockies, of course, are almost constantly looking for available rookie pitchers to use up and burn out. Of this season’s 13 rookies, nine were pitchers and their collective WAA amounted to -2.3 WAA. Welcome to Colorado, kids.