DENVER — Trevor Story was acquired with a supplemental draft pick when the Rockies lost Octavio Dotel in free agency. Bill Schmidt made that selection as Colorado’s VP of scouting. That gives him confidence now, while serving as acting GM, not just to trade his best player.
If the Rockies do not deal Story before the July 30 non-waiver deadline, Story is committed to leaving as a free agent. Before that, Colorado will make the qualifying offer. Story will reject it. And the Rockies will receive a compensation pick between the first and second rounds, like they had when they took the shortstop in 2011.
“We don’t have to trade him,” Schmidt insisted in a phone interview. “It is not a situation where we have to move money or my owner is telling me I have to trade [Story]. It really comes down to if we feel the offer is in the best interest of the Colorado Rockies. We will listen to what people have to say, but we are not just giving this player away.”
This is, of course, a bit of boilerplate. No executive wants to lose leverage in the marketplace by saying he must trade a player. It also left Story in an awkward spot representing the Rockies as the hometown hero in Monday night’s Home Run Derby with a clock running down on how long he will be in a Rockies uniform.
“I am trying to stay in the present and not think about what could happen,” Story said.
Schmidt said he tabled all Story discussions until after the draft and after the All-Star Game at Coors Field. He said there is more than enough time for teams to meet his price. Will the shortstop-desperate A’s jump in? The Yankees? The Reds? Story is owed roughly $8 million of his $18.5 million 2021 salary. So either a new team will have to make a strong financial commitment to add him or Colorado will have to get the kind of prospects to eat dollars to complete a trade.
“It is hard to say what different clubs are thinking,” Schmidt said. “I have no idea what the approach will be. It is like putting your house up for sale. You anticipate getting the value, but you don’t know until people start making offers.”
Schmidt said no matter the enticement, he will not trade his ace, German Marquez, who made his first All-Star team. Schmidt said the strength of the team is starting pitching and he does not want to subtract from it, especially with Marquez on such a favorable contract — including an option season, the righty has three years at $42 million left after this season.
But this is a marketplace in which there is not expected to be a difference-making starter available, so Colorado could likely get multiple elite prospects for Marquez, at a time when they seem far away the next few years from outdoing the Dodgers, Padres and possibly the Giants.
“The Dodgers and Giants are always going to be good because of the financial resources,” Schmidt said. “The Padres are a good club with a good system that should be good for awhile. But we have to do what is best for us and I think that is putting our best club out there.”
So if there is no Marquez or fellow All-Star Max Scherzer of the Nationals or the Reds’ Luis Castillo or the Marlins’ Pablo Lopez, who becomes the best starter most likely to be dealt before the July 30 deadline?
Kyle Gibson is a first-time All-Star at 33, playing for the last-place Rangers. He provides an acquiring team the bonus of a manageable $7 million contract for next season.
So when asked if he expected to be on the Rangers on July 31, Gibson, who has a 2.29 ERA in 17 starts, said, “I don’t know. I haven’t had many conversations [with Ranger executives]. I am sure those conversations could be coming.”
Cubs’ Bryant not fazed by trade rumors
Kris Bryant is there with Story for who could be the best position player traded. The Cubs finished the first half in a 6-19 tailspin, falling from a tie atop the NL Central to third and 8 ¹/₂ games out. GM Jed Hoyer indicated the likelihood of a sell-off. So Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Zach Davies could all be made available.
Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, said, “Jed loves Kris Bryant, and well he should.”
Bryant, a four-time All-Star who perhaps has led the majors in trade rumors the past two or three years, said, “Whatever happens, happens. If it does happen, I will be a guy who gives [a new team] my all and plays wherever they need me to play.”
The plan is for rehabbing Mets starter Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) to throw an inning for Coney Island on Thursday. Luis Rojas has said it is possible that Carrasco is brought back short of being fully stretched out to help a depleted Mets rotation. But since Carrasco has not pitched at all this year, it likely is going to take him a few starts to even get there and so early August might be the conservative arrival date.
Wheeler holds no grudge
One starter who got away from the Mets, Zack Wheeler, is a first-time All-Star with a 2.26 ERA and a major league-leading 119.2 innings. Gone are the injuries and lack of fulfilling his skill with the Mets. So how does he feel about his old team that would not go near the five-year, $118 million pact that the Phillies gave him after the 2019 campaign?
“That [feelings toward the Mets] already is in the past by facing old friends and getting that out of the way,” Wheeler said. “At the same time, making with the Phillies is nice. They put their trust in me.”