The Rockies look to be one of the prime sellers at this year’s trade deadline, though it doesn’t seem like the club will be swinging any deals soon. According to The Athletic’s Nick Groke, the Rox have told other teams that they won’t be participating in trade negotiations about any player “at least until play resumes after the All-Star break.”
The club has two priorities in the near future — the amateur draft that runs from July 11-13, and then the All-Star Game itself in Denver in six days’ time. Several other executives around the league have observed that the later date for the draft (usually held in early June) has thrown a wrench into trade discussions for many clubs, as many front offices don’t expect to fully turn their attention to upgrading the big league roster until the draft is complete.
For Rockies interim GM Bill Schmidt, he previously served as the team’s VP of scouting and has been running Colorado’s drafts since 2000, so it makes some sense that he would remain particularly focused on that aspect of the job. The Rockies have the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, which gains increased import considering that the team definitely needs premium minor league talent to aid a rebuild that may be coming sooner rather than later.
This being said, however, it seems frankly bizarre that the Rockies are seemingly willing to entirely cease trade talks for such an extended amount of time, especially during what seems like such a critical juncture point for the organization’s future. Ten days can be an eternity during deadline season, and the market could shift dramatically due to several factors (injuries, a team getting hot and deciding to buy, a team deciding to sell after a losing streak, etc.) that can emerge quickly.
It stands to reason that some teams have already been in touch about what it might take to acquire Trevor Story, Jon Gray, or other trade chips, but those potential offers on the table could evaporate quickly, so the Rockies could be costing themselves by not engaging in talks for over a week. Considering that the likes of Story, Gray, and Mychal Givens are all free agents after the season, the argument can be made that the Rockies should look to move these players sooner rather than later, in order to maximize their return from a team eager to have these players on their roster for an additional amount of time.
Part of the issue could be that Colorado’s front office is simply understaffed. “Sources from two opposing front offices said their teams don’t know exactly whom to contact when they want to reach the Rockies about trades,” Groke writes. Assistant GMs Jon Weil and Zach Wilson have both resigned in the two-plus months since Jeff Bridich was removed as the team’s general manager, which elevated Schmidt into the interim role. As Groke has reported, the Rockies spread the duties of departed employees around to current staffers, rather than hire any new people into the organization.