Starting pitcher Jon Gray enters the final year of his contract with a 45-37 record and 4.59 ERA in six seasons with the Colorado Rockies.
There are many unanswered questions as the Colorado Rockies head into the offseason. Will they trade Nolan Arenado as he will be able to opt out of his contract after this season? Will they sign Trevor Story to contract extension or try to move him as he enters his final season of his contract? How will they reinforce a bullpen that was abysmal in 2020 or will they sign a free agent to start at first base or catcher?
All of these questions and more have overshadowed another big looming decision that the Rockies’ front office will face this winter: What to do with starting pitcher Jon Gray, who is also entering the final year of his contract.
The third overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft out of Oklahoma has had some limited success with the Rockies. Since making his MLB debut in 2015, he had four consecutive double-digit win seasons and triple-digit strikeout seasons from 2016-19 and was named the Opening Day starter in two of those seasons. He has also two seasons in which he ended with a sub-4.00 ERA, including in 2017 where he went 10-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 20 starts.
The problem is that the 29-year-old righty has had his fair share of issues during his time in Denver, more specifically injuries. He has landed on the Injured List on four separate occasions throughout his career, including most recently this season, where he was placed on the IL with right shoulder inflammation limiting him to only eight starts in the 60-game pandemic shortened season.
He has also struggled going deeper into games throughout his career. In 122 career starts, he has only pitched into the seventh inning 41 times. This can be attributed to Gray’s 6.18 career ERA in the sixth inning in 81 games.
The Rockies would love for Gray to take a step forward and join the trio of German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela, who are all coming off a solid 2020 season. If he can, as well as rookie Ryan Castellani continuing his maturation, the Rockies could have a very deep and formidable starting rotation heading into 2021.
If not, Jon Gray could see his time in Denver come to end which a change of scenery might be a good thing for both parties.