It wasn’t that long ago that many thought Jon Gray’s days in Colorado were over. In July. With the team outside the playoff hunt, armchair wisdom suggested trading Gray at the deadline, but all accounts suggest they were more than comfortable keeping the big righty in Denver. He finished the year with a 4.59 ERA/4.22 FIP in 29 starts covering 149 innings. It wasn’t a stellar year, but it might be enough to leave other clubs curious about what he might be capable of outside of Colorado.
Inside Colorado, GM Bill Schmidt is now fully installed in his role, so there’s little reason to think his position has changed. They’d love to have Gray back. Gray, of course, will be a free agent the day after the World Series. The Rockies have no more a hold on Gray than the other 29 teams in the league (assuming they don’t extend a qualifying offer). There are rumblings of a contact extension being on the table, per The Athletic’s Nick Groke. Still, any agreement at this juncture would be surprising.
In terms of the rest of the roster, Schmidt’s recent comments provided by Groke suggest he may turn initially to the trade market, which would be a departure from normal operating procedure under former GM Jeff Bridich. If the Rockies do decide to dangle some of their players, Groke suggests Raimel Tapia, Brendan Rodgers, Colton Welker, Daniel Bard, Ryan Vilade, and Grant Lavigne as affordable assets that might draw attention. Comments from the club last season suggested they plan to build around Tapia and Ryan McMahon, so it would be a little surprising to see one of them move, even if there’s wisdom in exploring the options.
Rodgers, likewise, has hung around for long enough waiting to replace Trevor Story. The 25-year-old managed enough offensively to suggest he might be ready for that role. That said, 100 wRC+ and 1.6 fWAR in 415 plate appearances doesn’t scream superstar. The bigger question with Rodgers might be his position, as he may no longer be ticketed for shortstop. Still, he’s looking like a plus power bat at the keystone, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. That’s a fine future for Rodgers, but it does limit his potential future value.
Schmidt, of course, already made his first couple of big moves this winter, signing Antonio Senzatela and C.J. Cron to extensions. Those moves lend credence to Groke’s suggestions above to dangle the organization’s other first baggers like Welker and Lavigne on the trade block, despite their youth. Cron’s deal was just for two years, but it does provide the team with some surplus from which they might be comfortable dealing.