Bridich talks Deadline, top prospect Gray
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said the next week or so will determine which teams will be active at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and that will go a long way toward determining the moves his team will make.
"With that second [National League] Wild Card [spot] and the playoff potential for teams, people procrastinate a little bit on purpose," Bridich said. "I would not be surprised to see greater activity in the coming seven to eight days as teams start to decide one way or the other which direction they want to go, and if this Trade Deadline has any bearing on it."
The Rockies, at 12 games below .500 going into Monday night's opener of a three-game series with the Rangers, have major pieces in shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a veteran closer in John Axford and several younger pieces such as center fielder Charlie Blackmon and first baseman-catcher Wilin Rosario. But beyond a recent Fox Sports report that the Tigers are among the teams that have inquired about Axford, the Rockies haven't come up much in the rumor mill.
Bridich said he "wouldn't be surprised" if this becomes an active Deadline.
"Look at the number of teams that are still technically in it," Bridich said. "You look at that number of games out of the Wild Card. There are very few teams in this game right now that are running away with it, and two of the best teams [the Cardinals and Pirates] are in the same division. It creates for a lot of parity and a lot of hand-wringing, saying, 'What should we do?'"
In another development:
With righty Chad Bettis on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, the Rockies will go with a four-man rotation until July 28, the second of three games at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. But those anticipating the arrival of top Rockies prospect Jon Gray, a righty who was the No. 1 Draft pick in 2013, may have to wait.
Pitch efficiency and sharpness of secondary pitches are things Gray, currently with Triple-A Albuquerque, will need to shore up before the Rockies consider him ready.
"You look at where he was two years ago and you look at some of the struggles last year -- it was not like last year was all smooth sailing -- he steps into this league for the first time, he's been able to develop, he's had some struggles, he's learned from them and he's getting better and better," Bridich said. "The things we're having to check off with him, that list of developmental stuff, is starting to get smaller and smaller."
Gray displayed strengths and challenges Sunday in a five-inning outing for Albuquerque against Las Vegas, with Rockies' senior player development director Zach Wilson watching. After a lengthy pregame rain delay, Gray gave up a leadoff triple, then fanned the next three hitters. A wild pickoff throw led to the only run against him, and Gray needed 64 pitches for the first three innings.
However, he breezed through the next two innings on 20 pitches, and by the end had retired his final nine batters. He struck out seven and walked two. With the run unearned, it was the fourth time he has pitched without giving up an earned run. Because of high early pitch counts, he has not completed more than six innings since June 11.