Rockies might be bystanders at MLB trade deadline

The Rockies have likely already made their big trade deadline statement — without trading anybody.

On Saturday, they signed 37-year-old closer Daniel Bard to a two-year, $19 million contract extension. Bard was on track to be a free agent at the end of the season and general manager Bill Schmidt said that “legitimate playoff teams” contacted the Rockies about Bard.

“We asked Daniel, ‘Do you want to chase what’s out there, or do you want to be here?’ ” Schmidt said. “He was open to being here. So we looked to see how we could make it happen.”

As usual, the club is marching to its own drummer.

While they have several players nearing the end of their contracts, led by veteran shortstop Jose Iglesias, they could all still be in Rockies uniforms when the trade deadline ends at 4 p.m. (MDT) Tuesday.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next (72) hours,” Schmidt said on Saturday. “There might be some small things out there but I don’t think anything major, probably.”

Schmidt, however, left the door slightly ajar.

“Things can change,” he said “I was around (former GM) Dan O’Dowd one year and he made two trades with 30 minutes to go to the deadline. I sat there and watched him do it and went, ‘Wow!’ You don’t know what will happen. If we see ways to improve the club, we’ll look at it.”

The conventional thinking is that the Rockies could — or should — trade set-up right-hander Alex Colome, starter Chad Kuhl or Iglesias. If the Rockies don’t move them, those players could walk away at the end of the season with the Rockies getting nothing in return.

Teams have also inquired about All-Star first baseman C.J. Cron, who is under contract with Colorado next season for an affordable $7.25 million.

The philosophy behind moving any of the aforementioned players would be that the Rockies could stock up their farm system with prospects. The organization’s pitching depth is thin, especially with lefty Ryan Rolison and right-hander Peter Lambert facing uncertain futures because of arm injuries.

Entering Monday night’s game at San Diego, the Rockies, who just lost three of four games to the Dodgers at Coors Field, owned a 45-56 record and sat 9 1/2 games out of the final National League wild-card spot.

Still, the Rockies could very well stand pat. But both Schmidt and manager Bud Black adamantly reject the idea that the Rockies are in need of a teardown, followed by a rebuild.

“We have to play better baseball than we have been playing, but we have people who want to be here,” Schmidt said. “We have to continue to grow.”

Added Black: “There are teams and organizations that take a step back, right? Because they need to. Because it makes sense for them at that moment. We haven’t done that the last couple of years.”

Certainly not last year. In All-Star shortstop Trevor Story and right-hander Jon Gray, Colorado had two-high profile players headed toward free agency. But they hung onto both of them until the end of the season and watched them walk away.

The Rockies issued a qualifying offer for Story, who rejected it and became a free agent, eventually signing a six-year, $140 million contract with Boston. As compensation for losing Story, Colorado was awarded the 31st overall pick in last month’s draft and selected University of Florida corner outfielder Sterlin Thompson.

Last summer, when the Rockies didn’t trade Story, Schmidt explained the decision this way: “I think we can find a good player in the draft, so we are not just going to give away players. If people have an interest in our players, that’s good. But if you want somebody, make us a good offer.”

As for Gray, he expressed a strong interest in re-signing with the Rockies, but he ultimately signed a four-year, $56 million contract with the Rangers. Colorado received no compensation for Gray after deciding against issuing him a qualifying offer.

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