The Colorado Rockies have experienced a bit of a renaissance in recent time with the rebirth being led by General Manager Jeff Bridich. Since taking over as General Manager in 2014, Bridich has built up the Rockies to the point that they have the potential to be a perennial playoff team, and hopefully, bring home the first World Series title in the franchise history.

It has been a slow and steady process for Bridich, a journey he started back in 2004 when the Rockies hired him to their oversee minor league operations. More than a decade later Bridich is now calling the shots for Colorado and has started to establish a big-market feel for an organization whose desire to win has been questioned in the past.

Working his way up through the ranks, Bridich earned the trust of the Monfort family, the Rockies ownership group, with a vision that has set the team up for sustained success in the future. Many of the players that make up the Rockies’ nucleus were drafted or acquired while Bridich held a prominent role in the front office, including Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Jon Gray. German Marquez, Jake McGee, Kyle Freeland, and other players have all been drafted or acquired since Bridich took over as General Manager. Bridich showed ownership his keen eye for talent and his ability to form a core of players capable of winning consistently; however, the Rockies still had some fine-tuning to do.

After realizing the potential of that core Bridich had built up, the Monforts gave him more financial freedom than any of his predecessors to fortify the roster to one that could compete in the National League. Bridich utilized the trust he had been given to land clubhouse leader Gerardo Parra, two-time All-Star Ian Desmond, and closer Greg Holland, who tied for the NL lead in saves last season. As a result, the Rockies found themselves in the postseason for the first time since 2009 last year.

This offseason was tremendous for the Rockies. Pitching proved to be the Rockies’ Achilles heel last year, per usual. After building up the pitching staff mostly from within, Bridich faced the challenge of convincing quality pitchers to sign with the Rockies — something that has been a problem for the franchise since it’s inception. To this point, a majority of Colorado’s best arms have stemmed from the draft, trades or, as in Holland’s case, prove-it contracts.

Convincing pitchers to sign in Denver outright has always been a struggle for the Rockies; however, Bridich did just that this offseason by re-signing Jake McGee and adding Bryan Shaw from the Cleveland Indians. To put a cherry on top, he swapped Holland for 2015-17 All-Star closer Wade Davis. A significant reason the Rockies landed these arms was because of what they have built in recent years. Bridich and his staff have slowly but surely changed the narrative about playing at altitude.

“Jake McGee is a testament to what’s happening here,” Bridich told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick recently. “He came over in trade, and he had no choice but to pitch and figure it out. When he did have a choice, he wanted to come back here. Not only did he want to do that, he wanted to help recruit his buddy Wade Davis. I think that says a lot about the stuff we have going on, and the belief that guys have in each other here.”

The system Bridich has been building for years is starting to pay dividends and is now trickling down to players and fans. The Rockies are slowly but surely becoming a baseball hot spot. If they can follow up their impressive 2017 tour with an equally (or more) successful 2018, they could set up themselves to thrive well into the future.

Colorado is committed to winning. This year’s payroll is a direct testament to that. The Rockies currently claim the 15th-highest payroll in the sport, with $123.64 million dedicated to the 25-man roster — a significant increase from 2017 ($105.03 million) and 2016 ($88,354,041). Between re-signing McGee, adding Shaw and Davis, and the other dollars already guaranteed to Chris RusinAdam Ottavino, and Mike Dunn, the Rockies have more than $100 million in guaranteed money tied up in relief pitchers, which adds up to be the most expensive bullpen in baseball history.

Bridich and the Rockies front office were aggressive at the start of the offseason. As a result, the Rockies pen’ entering the 2018 season has the potential to be the best in franchise history.

“Like any free-agent market, you’re not quite sure how it’s going to end up when you start out,” Bridich told Crasnick. “I think we’re blessed that Dick gave us the ability to be aggressive. And we needed to be aggressive. As everybody saw, in a slow market, it was the relief pitchers that flew off the board first.”

Rome was not built in a day, and Bridich understands the difficulty and intricacies it takes to form a club capable of winning on a daily basis. Since taking over as General Manager he has led the Rockies back to the postseason and has optimism at an all-time high for a franchise that has just eight winning seasons over its 25 years of existence. The old narratives of playing for the Rockies are being wiped away. The coming season could solidify the team’s standing in the sport moving forward. Jeff Bridich is to thank for that.