When the final round of negotiations were happening, the Rockies and Astros had similar deals on the table. The Astros were offering $22M ($5.5M AAV) over four years while the Rockies were offering $20M ($5M AAV) over four years.
Now remember, Biggio wanted out of Houston, but he needed that tangible reason to give the Astros for leaving Houston. Accepting an offer that would pay less wasn’t going to fly with them in his eyes. So Biggio and his agent asked for a fifth year on the contract and he would sign with the Colorado Rockies.
Bob Gebhard said no.
Bob Gebhard looked at Craig Biggio, a future Hall of Famer who desperately wanted to play baseball in Colorado, and said no. And on December 14, 1995, he re-signed with the Houston Astros.
Now maybe it would’ve made more sense had he asked him how to properly spell the name Kevin and he would’ve found out that Biggio would spell it “Cavan” for some unbeknownst reason. As a Kevin with a properly spelled first name, I would fully understand that. But do I think Gebhard even attempted to ask that question? Absolutely not.
“I thought we had an excellent chance to get Craig Biggio,” McMorris told The Denver Post in 1997. “We’re critiquing ourselves on our presentation and package.”
As they should. Either they were being too financially stringent and an extra $5M was going to hamper them, or they were sold on Eric Young at second base.
And it’s not like EY was a slouch. By today’s measure he put up decent value in multiple years with the Rockies. Not overwhelming, but he was a 2+ fWAR player consistently who provided a lot of value with his glove. But compared to Biggio, who had put up 15.3 fWAR in his three seasons prior to hitting free agency, it’s no comparison.
Bob Gebhard not signing Craig Biggio because he wanted a fifth year in his contract with the Rockies is undoubtedly one of the worst mistakes a Rockies GM has ever made.
Seriously. He loved Colorado so much that even after he re-signed with the Astros he helped other players sign with the Rockies, a la Darryl Kile. And, though I can’t find any writings on this right now, it’s fair to wonder if he helped to convince former Astro Mike Hampton to sign with the Rockies. That obviously took a different turn, but the point stands: Craig Biggio absolutely loved Colorado and he should have been ours.