Story a hot Deadline commodity; Gray, too?

July 30th, 2021

They call them pitching probables because you don’t always know for sure. The Rockies have listed right-hander Jon Gray as their starter Friday night against the Padres, with first pitch scheduled for six hours and 10 minutes after the 2 p.m. MT Trade Deadline.

The speculation is swirling, even though the Rockies are open to re-signing Gray -- he’s a free agent at season’s end -- and he has said publicly he wants to stay because, “I see how great winning in Colorado can be.” Yet, there is no deal, and Gray’s name keeps circulating.

And sources told's Mark Feinsand on Friday that the club has no plans to deal Gray or Daniel Bard.

Rockies manager Bud Black has decided not to add to the spin.

“It depends on the individual,” Black said. “With Jon and I, it’s very little conversation. That’s how I handled it with Jon, and I think Jon is fine with that.

“He knows how we feel about him. This is his organization, first-round pick. He was raised by the Rockies and he has an emotional attachment to the Rockies. And I never wanted to mess with that. So I’ve sort of let each day go on.

“[Rockies pitching coach] Steve Foster and Jon have a great relationship. He’s keeping him pretty grounded and it’s a great perspective. And Jon has actually handled this great. We’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours, but Jon, I think, relishes being a Rockie.”

Reports and speculative tweets come and disappear rapidly.

The Padres, themselves, were mentioned as a possible Gray destination before it broke Thursday that they were “working to acquire” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer from the Nationals. Minutes after, speculation shifted to the Dodgers, who acquired Danny Duffy from the Royals. Then, reports appeared that L.A. had swooped in and was trying to wrest Scherzer from Washington, along with speedster Trea Turner.

The Mets, Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, Giants and even the pitching-rich White Sox are conceivable teams that could call the Rockies.

But how do the Rockies feel?

Asked if he wants to extend the relationship, Black said, “Yes, but it takes two to tango, and there’s a lot that goes into that. Negotiations can be complicated. But if Jon wants to make this happen, it can happen.”

The Rockies re-acquired right-hander Ashton Goudeau, who pitched for them last year, from the Reds for cash considerations Thursday. Goudeau could step in for Gray if he’s no longer on the team. Right-hander José Mujica, another starter, was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.

While there is a deadline on whether the Rockies make a move, a contract beyond this year isn’t facing such a tight schedule. If Gray is traded -- especially if the move improves the club's frontline talent -- there is nothing preventing him from returning as a free agent -- although the Rockies would have to compete with other teams to sign him.

There is desire to stay together, but this is also a business. And Black can tell a good story about the business side. The tale also involves Rockies director of pitching operations Mark Wiley, who took his current job after the 2012 season. The first pitcher drafted under his watch? Gray, third overall in '13.

“In 1990, I was traded from Cleveland to Toronto in the middle of my warmup session before a ballgame, so I sort of know how that feels,” Black said. “I was at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland and the pitching coach left my side.

“He was called down to the dugout and returned [after] 90 seconds away and sort of took the ball from me. It was Mark Wiley -- he took the ball from me and said, ‘Buddy, you need to see Hank [Peters, the club president and chief operating officer] and Johnny McNamara [the manager].

“I think we’ve made a trade.”

The ever-changing story

Early Thursday morning, it seemed the Rockies and Yankees were likely partners for a deal that would put shortstop Trevor Story in the Bronx. The White Sox, another potential match, obtained second baseman Cesar Hernandez from Cleveland, a better positional fit for the team.

The Yankees formally announced a trade with the Rangers for outfielder Joey Gallo on Thursday morning, but speculation was rampant that they remained in the market for Story. However, the Yankees then acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs.’s Mark Feinsand tweeted that the Yankees’ infield was set in such a way that they likely would not be obtaining Story.

The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders also reported that the Mets have interest in Story, but there was no early indication a deal could be completed. Sources said if the Rockies deal Story -- a free agent at season’s end -- it may not happen until close to the Deadline hour.