GM Bridich called CarGo before signing Parra

Gonzalez, squarely on the trade block, vouched for fellow Venezuelan OF

January 12th, 2016

DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez picked up the phone when general manager Jeff Bridich called a couple of days ago on a job reference for free-agent outfielder Gerardo Parra.

On Tuesday, Parra announced that he had agreed to a contract with the Rockies -- reported as a three-year, $27.5 million deal with a club option for a fourth year (although the club hasn't confirmed the signing). No doubt Gonzalez put in a good word for Parra, a fellow Venezuelan and a teammate during their days in the D-backs' organization, in winter ball and in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

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But Gonzalez's name is prevalent in trade rumors, as the Rockies must improve their starting pitching for the short and long term and have an immediate bullpen need. And with the Rockies seemingly needing to deal an outfielder to accommodate the Parra signing, one would think Gonzalez would have thrown out the question, "Hey, what about me?"

Didn't happen. Gonzalez said it simply wouldn't be fair to Bridich or the Rockies.

"He told me he wanted to sign Parra and asked me some questions about him, and I told him he's a professional who knows how to play the game, one that can help us," Gonzalez said by phone from his Orlando, Fla., home. "But no. I don't want to get in the way of the general manager doing his job, so I'm not going to ask him about me.

"I'm on the Rockies, and he's the GM, and that's what I know. That's the way I see it. That's the way I handle it. No, he could have called me five seconds later and said, 'We traded you,' and all I can say is, 'OK, I got traded.' That's part of his job."

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In no way does that mean Gonzalez doesn't care if he stays. Beyond Parra, Gonzalez said the conversation was a wide-ranging one, much like a preview of the 2016 Rockies.

"We talked about Parra and we talked about the guys on our team, how they are feeling," Gonzalez said. "I've talked to a lot of my teammates -- Nolan Arenado, Brandon Barnes, Corey Dickerson. When I talked to Bridich, I asked him about pitching, like how Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles are doing. We talked about our team and we talked about baseball, plain and simple.

"He needs to make moves. I'm not going to get in the middle of that. If he has to move me or move anybody else for the best of the team, he needs to go ahead and do the best job he can as a GM."

Gonzalez's is an intriguing case.

With a large class of free-agent outfielders, early speculation had the Rockies moving Gonzalez, since the $37 million due to him over the final two years of his contract turn out to be a bargain compared to what players are receiving on the open market.

But the Rockies haven't gotten the offer that would cause them to part with Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star who shook off injuries in recent years to hit 40 homers in 2015.

The Rockies also are in conversations involving fellow outfielders Dickerson (whose contract puts him under club control for four seasons) and Charlie Blackmon (controlled the next three seasons). It's possible the Rockies will deal one of the other two, and revisit dealing Gonzalez at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Rockies held off on trading shortstop Troy Tulowitzki last winter, then dealt him to the Blue Jays in July and ended up receiving shortstop Jose Reyes (to help offset Tulowitzki's salary) and -- most importantly -- three young pitchers.

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Gonzalez didn't obsess about his future on the phone with Bridich -- the man who holds his future, in many ways -- and he didn't on Tuesday when the Parra news broke. Instead, he went to the batting cage.

"What's important for me is to wake up every day feeling good, feeling healthy, then train to get stronger, work on my legs, make progress with my hitting and do all the fun stuff I love to do," Gonzalez said. "I don't like reading the Internet. If I liked that, I'd have gone to school."