DENVER — Rockies GM Jeff Bridich knew the Ian Desmond announcement was coming.
It just wasn't his place to share the news.
"I think everybody understands that was not my story to break," Bridich said Tuesday afternoon in a conference call with local media.
On Monday Bridich had been coy about if any of his players would skip the 2020 season. A few hours later, Desmond announced in a lengthy Instagram post he wouldn't be playing this year.
Desmond cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reason why, but said as a father of four and with a pregnant wife that "home is where I need to be right now." Desmond also addressed baseball's lack of diversity and many other problems he sees in the sport with the nine photo Instagram post and statement.
"I think with the powerful words that Ian put together and published yesterday, I think any interference in that would have been some sort of injustice to what he had to say and how he wanted to say it," Bridich said Tuesday. "We're fully supportive of Ian and of his family and the decision they've made. It's the right decision for them and for him. It's fairly deep and what he put out there was quite heartfelt yesterday."
Bridich said he had two conversations with Desmond about the decision, one taking place last week and one more recently. He knew the news was coming, provided Desmond didn't have a last second change of heart.
"They were great conversations and very honest and to the point with a lot of though involved. We were able to talk as both husbands, both fathers and both working together in the industry. It was some good conversations and real conversations," Bridich said.
When asked to expand on how the conversations with Desmond made him feel, Bridich said what Desmond wrote is exactly who he is.
"The conversations with Ian felt the exact same that his written words feel to me, which is from the heart and honest. One of the great things about Ian is he's wiling to think out loud, to share ideas and he's not afraid of that. He's completely comfortable in that. I didn't know he was going to write something as thoughtful and as comprehensive as that and have that be his statement, but I'm not surprised because he put a lot of thought into that. It was just honest and natural." Bridich said.
Desmond still has one year left on his contract after this season, and Bridich said this decision does not affect how the club feels about Desmond moving forward. He knows the choice to sit out 2020 wasn't one the outfielder made lightly.
"Ian is extremely thoughtful in what he does. He's thoughtful as a husband and a father. He's thoughtful about things that are bigger than him. He's willing to devote a lot of time and energy and thought to things that he does. It's easy to gravitate to people like that," Bridich said.
To potentially replace Desmond, the Rockies agreed to terms with former All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp on Tuesday morning. Bridich said Kemp will compete for a spot on the roster.
Colorado can start working out this weekend as "spring training" 2.0 gets underway, with opening day expected to be July 23 or 24.
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