What is Rocky trying to achieve?

The MLB trading deadline is sure to see more significant moves, but perhaps the strangest thing this month is the Colorado Rockies’ decision not to trade near Daniel Bard. Instead, they gave the 37-year-old relief jug a Two years, $19 million extension He will remain with the team until 2024. This is usually a move to establish some safety in the game, provided the organization making the move has immediate hopes of competing in the post-season. The Rockies do not meet this requirement.

The Rocky Mountains are really out there doing things. This was evident ahead of the 2022 season, with a baffling seven-year contract for Chris Bryant, and it was also confirmed by their other moves prior to that. In the past two seasons, they’ve traded Nolan Arenado, ditched John Gray, and let Trevor Storey walk. The Rockies may not have broken much about the latter, but still: are they still rebuilding, and if so, what is they building for? The team has finished fourth in the division every season since 2019, and will once again spar at the bottom of NL West this year.

The issue is not that Bard got paid, because he was excellent. He also has a great story about how he landed in Colorado. A decade ago, he was working on the Red Sox as a setup man who could hit three figures, but in 2012 (the awful Bobby Valentine season) the team messed with him and tried to turn him into a starter. Cold stumbled, completely lost his command and was demoted. He took the job, and after a string of minor league contracts, he retired in 2017. The Arizona Diamondbacks hired him as their player mentor for two years, a clear sign that his football career was definitive. Prior to the 2020 season, Bard attempted a comeback, and his leadership was encouraging enough that he signed a Triple-A contract with the Rockies. In that season cut short by Covid, he delivered some quality runs in relief and was named NL Comeback Player of the Year. His 2021 team was mixed, but this year, he’s been one of the team’s few bright spots, with 22 tackles, 1.86 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.

Bard is a legitimate soon-to-be deserving of a multi-year contract with this season’s performance, and while he’s nearing 40, his arm is likely a little fresher due to that seven-year gap in the Major League. But any other team in that position would have shipped him to a better team for one or two prospects. The Rocky chose to keep it. Perhaps the emotional stats justify here. The biggest problem is that Bard is one of the few Rockies pitchers (along with Tyler Kinley’s dilute) that don’t bleed. The best player on the team is Kyle Freeland, who has a 4.63 ERA and has 6.4 hits in all nine runs. He’s never been a heavy K-style shooter, but that’s still not ideal for getting the best out of your rotation. John Gray could have helped.

Nick Grok of The Athletic was right a few days ago: The Rockies didn’t want to trade Bard despite all the rumors surrounding him. The team seems to reward any bowler who doesn’t struggle at Corse. Groke’s story included an analogy from Rockies manager Bud Black that revealed organizational logic:

“We are making calls. We have some very desirable players,” Black said. “And I can’t talk to him, but I will give you some perspective. Team A might call one of our players and their front desk might say, “We love this guy.” And our front desk would say, ‘Well, yeah, he’s a good player, you should be in that player. How about so-and-so on your team?’ And they might say, ‘You’re the right guy too.’ That’s how it works. It’s not a one-way street.”

[…]

“But it also happens quite a bit,” the director added. Hello, you have a Range Rover. We’ll take your Range Rover and give you a Honda Accord. The teams expect you to do so. Why do we do that? “How can you not trade your Range Rover?” Because we might as well try to keep our Range Rover! Instead of replacing it with your Subaru! “

the athlete

Torturing this metaphor, the Rockies don’t make use of their Range Rover. They use it on five-minute trips to the grocery store and keep it in the garage. Also, the Range Rover was leased, and the Rockies let the lease lapse and return it to the dealership, but they didn’t even get a Subaru in return. Now they have a bike, or something like that.

In any case, this metaphor is now void since the Range Rover lease was extended. While there is no indication of a broader strategy for this organization, it would be nice if the Rockies would spend some money on someone closer to a career with them, I think. However, that close wouldn’t have many high-leverage positions to enter if the shooters before it were coughing five runs at each start. Rocky has figured out who takes the ninth inning; They still haven’t sorted out who made the first five or six.

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