The Bill Schmidt era has gotten off to a roaring start. If your idea of ”roaring” is to watch the Rockies hit the throttle with their right foot while hitting the brake with their left.
Adam Ottavino couldn’t spin the Jon Gray saga into something that won’t make you bang your head on the kitchen table. Instead of moving their veteran right-handers last summer, where there were suitors lurking, the Rockies said they planned to keep Gray. Schmidt, the then interim and now full-time Colorado general manager, explained at the time that he felt the pitcher was interested in staying.
“We hope Jon wants to stay here, which I think he does,” Schmidt told The Post’s Patrick Saunders back in July, “and that we will be able to find a common ground.”
Spoiler alert: They never did.
The Rockies feared that Gray would accept a $ 18.4 million one-year qualifying offer, so they declined to offer one, making him a free agent. Last Sunday night, during the insane shopping spree before the inevitable MLB lockout, the right-handed player escaped – joining the Texas Rangers on a $ 56 million four-year deal – for nothing.
No prospects. Nothing.
So while Kris Bryant wanted to look incredible in the Rockies’ purple, take Schmidt’s reported attempt to find “common ground” with the former Cubs and Giants slugger with a pinch of salt.
Or a shot of whiskey.
Oh, he fits. Like a glove. Bryant would immediately become the face of a franchise that swapped one (Nolan Arenado) and let two more go (Gray, Trevor Story).
He plays in third place, first place or in the field. He wanted to make Coors Field his personal launch pad. After Nikola Jokic and perhaps Nathan MacKinnon, he had become the biggest star in town, at least until the Broncos changed his position as a quarterback.
Here’s the problem. When MLB Networks Jon Heyman tweeted Tuesday that the Rockies’ interest in Bryant was due to “obviously aiming to compete in 2022” … just…. just stop.
Stop right there.
If you ‘obviously try to compete in 2022’, you’re not letting a core member of your rotation since 2015, a 2.7 WAR pitcher in 2021, a guy who has that kind of thing playing at Coors Field, walk away without a fight .
Is Gray worth $ 18.4 million with a lifetime record of 53-49, a 4.59 ERA and a 3.91 FIP when German Marquez earns $ 11.3 million in 2022? Compared to his peers? No way.
But if you go for it, then Bryant can not be it only great dish added to the menu. Gray averaged 150 innings in 2019 and ’21. Who fills that gap? Tyregården? Heaven help us.
Pony op. Go long. Call Clayton Kershaw. When he laughs and hangs up, call again. Marcus Stroman, same agreement. Why should Rangers, Tigers, Mariners and Mets have all the fun?
If Rockies’ owner / chairman / CEO / punching bag Dick Monfort wants to change the story, he should borrow a page from the Texas Playbook and open his checkbook.
Bryant has yet to finish an MLB season on a losing streak list. He has gone to the playoffs six times in his first seven major league seasons. Schmidt might be able to read a scout report, but can he read a room?
“We internally made a decision to keep Jon (Gray) and not entertain trading with him,” the Rockies’ general manager offered last July. “Our goal is to continue to have Jon as a Rockie. We’ve had some discussions, but we’re not done yet.”
Then again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes. Of course, the tires make a lot of noise. But in the end, you just end up going nowhere fast.