Carlos Gonzalez is in his 10th season with the Colorado Rockies. He understands that it could be his last with the team. And very soon, he will have substantial influence on whether he finishes the 2018 season in Denver.On July 19, Gonzalez will reach 10 years of Major League service.
Carlos Gonzalez is in his 10th season with the Colorado Rockies. He understands that it could be his last with the team. And very soon, he will have substantial influence on whether he finishes the 2018 season in Denver.
On July 19, Gonzalez will reach 10 years of Major League service. At that point, he will have the right to veto any trade as a "10-and-5" player -- one who has played at least 10 big league seasons, with at least the past five of those coming with their current team.
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Gonzalez's manageable contract -- one year, $5 million -- could make the three-time All-Star an appealing trade candidate for teams looking to add a left-handed-hitting outfielder. The Rockies, currently fourth in the National League West, are 11-17 since the start of June, and they have allowed by far the most runs (186) in the Majors over that span.
Asked about the prospects of being dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Gonzalez said, "There's always a possibility," before invoking the experiences of his friend and mentor, Carlos Beltran.
Beltran played for seven MLB teams -- and made seven trips to the postseason -- before winning a World Series ring with the Astros (and retiring) last November.
"He told me that, at the end of his career, that was his No. 1 goal -- being on a contender," Gonzalez said. "I see that from this team. We still have a lot of games in front of us to turn our season around. We're not too far from first place. That's what I want to do -- contribute for this club and continue to go higher and higher [in the standings].
"But like you said, there's always different ways in this game. Let's see what happens in the future."
This year's Trade Deadline buyers seem more inclined to pursue pitching help than outfield bats, and Gonzalez's home/road splits raise some concerns for interested clubs. Entering Monday, he had a .992 OPS at Coors Field and a .596 OPS away from home.
But Gonzalez, 32, has improved steadily during the regular season, with a .709 OPS in March and April, .728 in May, and .812 in June. Gonzalez has simplified his approach since the year began, adjusting to a smaller leg kick and focusing on using his hands to barrel the ball.
Gonzalez, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, made one aspect of his plans very clear: He intends to play again in 2019 -- and beyond.
"I want to play until they tell me, 'Don't show up anymore,'" he said. "This is what we love to do. I love the game. I feel like I still have a lot in the tank. I'm still a good athlete, defensively and offensively, [and] it's important as a veteran to share your experience with the guys next to you."
Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.