He wore champagne and Coors banquet beer on his head and a smile that said "told ya so." But on the night he returned the Colorado Rockies to the playoffs, Jeff Bridich wasn't budging: his ballclub was not, in fact, ahead of schedule.

"Whose schedule?" the general manager replied, forever defiant.

His actions speak volumes: for the first time in franchise history, the Rockies are operating as if the next World Series is a genuine, achievable, real goal.

Like, for real. For really real.

They just spent $52 million on a closer, for crying out loud. Happy New Year, Wade Davis. The first round's on the former Cubs closer. And that's after they spent $27 million on another reliever, Bryan Shaw. And that's after they spent $27 million on another reliever, Jake McGee.

With that, the Bridich Bullpen replaced the Bridich Barrier as the sight to see at Coors Field. Think of this super-pen as insurance on a young, cheap starting rotation.

The 40-year-old GM has his fingerprints all over this Rox revival. When Bridich was hired to replace Dan O'Dowd in 2014, I wrote that Bridich was not more of the same, despite working under O'Dowd at 20th and Blake. His vision for the Rockies has taken shape: pitching depth, strong defense and a versatile lineup. He's had an appreciation for how the Kansas City Royals built their championship club a few years back. These Rox show shades of those Royals.

Does a highly paid bullpen ensure the Rockies are still playing into October?

Course not. In the NL West, the Dodgers are still a thing.

Does it mean the Rockies are all-in for a World Series run in 2018?

Follow the money.

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

Sports columnist

Denver sports columnist for The Gazette

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