Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is July 31, but another critical date is looming for the Colorado Rockies.
Only July 19, Carlos Gonzalez will reach 10 full years of playing Major League Baseball, nine of those with the Colorado Rockies. This milestone gives him his “10-to-5” rights, meaning he has the ability to veto any trade the Rockies want to pursue with him.
According to David Schoenfield of ESPN, the Rockies should trade Gonzalez if they can get a decent return — bullpen help, a first baseman or a solid prospect. Gonzalez’s contract is just $5 million for one year, appealing for many teams who could use a left-handed corner outfielder.
After series wins against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners, the Rockies are closing in on “buyer” status going into the All-Star Break. And if the Rockies believe in this team, Shoenfield writes, they won’t trade 2019 free agents DJ LeMahieu or Adam Ottavino before the deadline.
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That makes Gonzalez one of the Rockies’ best trading chips. After a miserable start to the season, he is slashing .326/.369/.553 since May 26. The only red flags are Gonzalez’s home/road splits — .984 OPS at home versus .649 OPS on the road.
J.P. Morosi of MLB.com discussed a potential trade deal that would send Gonzalez to the Houston Astros. Despite their stacked infield and impressive rotation, the Astros need outfield help. Outfielders Josh Reddick and 2017 World Series MVP George Springer are currently supported by 21-year-old prospect Kyle Tucker and the underwhelming Tony Kemp. Both lack Gonzalez’s defensive prowess and slugging power.
Gonzalez knows his time is running out. Despite 10 years of impressive service, his playoff experience amounts to an NLDS loss in 2010 and last season’s Wild Card loss to the Diamondbacks. The Astros are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs, so Houston makes sense as a destination for Gonzalez.
Gonzalez loves playing for the Rockies, and Rockies fans love Gonzalez. If the Rockies fail to make a move until after July 19, Gonzalez could decline a trade and show us he believes in the short-term prospects for this team and this organization.
If the Rockies execute a trade within the next week, it would be a sudden and startling exit for one of the franchise’s all-time greats.