Hilliard talks HR with father; Deadline chatter

July 29th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Rockies’ turned a good beginning into a rout Tuesday night with his fourth-inning, pinch-hit three-run homer in the 12-3 victory over the Angels. But the best part came later.

Hilliard tirelessly pushes ALS awareness, doing what he can to help his mother, Tamara, raise money for research and treatment through their Team Hilliard effort. It’s all in honor of his father, Jim, who has the disease.

Jim Hilliard can no longer speak, but he can “type” with his eyes. Though neither the dry humor with which he spoke, nor his sharp observation power have waned, Jim made quick mention of the fact that both of his son’s homers on this trip -- there was a ninth-inning solo shot in Friday night’s 10-inning victory at Dodger Stadium -- have been when manager Bud Black called upon him off the bench.

“He said, ‘Good job … maybe ask Buddy if you can’t start again today -- ask him if you can come off the bench again,’” Sam Hilliard said. “I said, ‘Dad, I’d rather have five chances than three chances to do something for the team, but I know where your head’s at. I like that.’”

Alas, Hilliard started in right field in Wednesday's series finale against the Angels as Charlie Blackmon got a day off.

Deadline buzz

The Brewers’ pickup of switch-hitting infielder Eduardo Escobar from the D-backs and the Athletics’ acquisition of outfielder Starling Marte from the Marlins eliminated two teams in need of a right-handed bat from possible trades for Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.

The teams believed to be still looking at Story are the Yankees and the White Sox. The Yankees were also reportedly finalizing a trade for left-handed-hitting outfielder Joey Gallo from the Rangers on Wednesday. If that goes through, there still could be a fit. However, the Yankees are dealing with a luxury tax situation and would be looking to unload money, with first baseman Luke Voit a candidate to head to Colorado.

The pursuit of righty Jon Gray has been heavy on scout traffic but light on actual offers. Gray -- a free agent at season’s end -- has said he would like to re-sign, and the Rockies are believed to be interested in making an offer. It isn’t clear if an agreement can be reached in advance of Friday’s Trade Deadline -- assuming a team doesn’t make an offer the Rockies can't refuse. Multiple clubs of all levels of contention are mentioned in rumors, but it appears teams that have to decide whether they are truly contenders are the ones most likely to try to acquire Gray.

The Reds, who sent two prospects to the Rockies for righty reliever Mychal Givens on Wednesday, and the Blue Jays -- who could be in the market for Gray, but also may not feel they have a chance at the playoffs -- have been the strongest suitors for closer Daniel Bard. But, like Gray, the Rockies have interest in keeping Bard, who has one year of arbitration remaining before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2023.