2021 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Colorado Rockiesby Andersen Pickard July 25, 2021 1 comment
The Colorado Rockies have not been the worst team in their division, but they’ve still suffered from the coincidental surges of the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants. A postseason berth is already out of the question for Colorado. Meanwhile, Nolan Arenado was dealt this past winter and Trevor Story might not be far behind him. With that in mind, let’s assess how the Rockies should handle next Friday’s trade deadline.
Make sure to check out all of our other Trade Deadline Previews.
Rank: Second in NL West (18.0 GB)
The Rockies are clear sellers, though their record is better than many people would have anticipated at the start of this season. Still, it will be a long time before they surpass the elite three in the NL West, so Colorado should feel comfortable trading Story (and others) while they can.
Trevor Story, Shortstop
No team ever wants to trade away a young franchise player. Shortstops have started to take over baseball as the position of stardom and teams are prioritizing the solidification of the gap between second and third base. The rebuilding Rockies can take advantage of that by trading Story, though it won’t be an easy move. The 28-year-old is having a down year, but he’s a two-time All-Star with a .273/.339/.552 slash line. He’s a weapon in the field, too, posting 8.4 dWAR this year (second-best mark of his career). Story also hits for power and was one of eight players recognized in this summer’s Home Run Derby. Finally, he has been a threat on the basepaths, stealing 17 bases so far this season. Uninterested in a long-term extension with the Rockies, Story seems quite likely to be on the move this coming week.
Jon Gray, Starting Pitcher
Gray’s name has come up in trade deadline rumors for several years, though it seems like 2021 represents the best chance of him being traded. It’s always been interesting to ponder how the Rockies’ ace might perform away from Coors Field, and perhaps the back half of this season will answer that question. Through 17 starts this season, Gray has gone 6-6 with a 3.68 ERA (that’s 0.01 away from tying his career-best). He’s also amassed 8.42 K/9 and 3.58 BB/9. Meanwhile, his 0.97 HR/9 and 3.98 FIP both represent his best marks since 2017. Gray has produced increased velocity on his four-seamer, slider, and changeup. He’s relied on his slider more this season (36.6 percent in 2021, up from 29.2 percent in 2021). This has proven to be beneficial as opponents have a mere .141 batting average when seeing the pitch.
Daniel Bard, Closer
Bard represented baseball’s biggest feel-good story in 2020. He came back from a seven-year MLB hiatus to 3.64 FIP and 0.73 HR/9. His strong performance out of the Colorado bullpen earned him the Comeback Player of the Year award. Now, in 2021, he has looked solid as the Rockies’ closer. Through 40.2 innings, he has amassed 15 saves. He’s logged a career-best 11.73 K/9 while issuing walks at a 4.43 BB/9 clip. His 3.76 xFIP also represents his best mark in a decade (four MLB seasons). Ultimately, Bard won’t command as much of a return as an elite closer like Craig Kimbrel or Ian Kennedy, but his role in the back end of the bullpen still gives him value. Bard’s name is flying under the radar, but it would not be surprising to see Colorado trade its 36-year-old this week.
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