Looking back, the decision for the Colorado Rockies to not trade Jon Gray during the 2021 MLB trade deadline was a massive mistake for the franchise. It’s long been suggested it was a blunder, but when Gray inked a deal with the Texas Rangers on Sunday and walked away from the only team he has ever known in Colorado, the mistake became magnified 100-fold.
The Colorado Rockies should have traded Jon Gray long before he signed a deal with the Texas Rangers
Shortly after the 2021 trade deadline passed, then Colorado Rockies-interim general manager Bill Schmidt met with the media, including Rox Pile, and said this about why Trevor Story and Jon Gray were not traded to other teams despite the Rockies being far out of postseason contention.
“We’re trying to do what we believe is in the best interest of the Colorado Rockies, trying to build a winning club for them,” Schmidt said.
Now roughly four months later, Gray is a member of the Rangers and the Rockies have nothing to show for it other than his name scattered throughout the media guide pages of franchise pitching leaders. As Schmidt told Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post on Sunday night, “He (Gray) decided to go in a different direction.”
Basically, Gray wanted to go any direction that didn’t involve the Rockies. It’s a strange ending to a saga that picked up steam back in early June when Gray told us when asked about his future in a Rockies uniform, “Absolutely, I would love to stay here. I have a lot of pride pitching here at Coors. I know it can be hard to find guys that love to pitch at Coors so hopefully those two things go together well, because I love being a Rockie.” It then continued when he rejected an offer from the Rockies before the season ended, one that was reportedly lower than he would eventually get from Texas.
The Rockies misjudged love for loyalty in business and, when Gray was offered a better deal by the Rangers than he had from the Rockies, it spelled the end of Gray’s tenure in Colorado. It’s that simple.
Had the Rockies traded Gray at the deadline, there would at least be some prospects that would have returned in the deal. Had the Rockies extended a qualifying offer to Gray shortly after the season ended, they would have either had him for another season (at a higher average annual value ($18.4 million for the one season) than the four-year, $56 million deal Gray inked with Texas) or had a compensatory pick coming back to them had another team signed him.
None of those three scenarios, however, are happening. Texas has a new pitcher and excitement within the fan base. Colorado has a hole in the rotation and a fan base wondering once again what the plan is moving forward.
Sunday night’s news wasn’t disheartening because Gray left. It was disheartening because he left and Colorado has nothing but memories after his decision, an ending that absolutely didn’t have to happen.