ROCKIES

Report: Rockies expected to entertain trade offers on five players

Jun 30, 2023, 1:08 AM | Updated: 1:09 am

The Aug. 1 trade deadline remains over a month away, and the Rockies have already made one deal. And according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network and the New York Post, more could be coming.

Heyman reported Thursday that the Rockies were “expected to take bids”on five players: outfielder Jurickson Profar, first baseman C.J. Cron, outfielder Randal Grichuk and relief pitchers Brad Hand and Pierce Johnson. Profar, Cron, Grichuk and Johnson have expiring contracts, while the Rockies have a club option on hand.

But not among those players is relief pitcher Daniel Bard, of whom Heyman reported the Rockies were “less inclined” to trade.

The Rockies signed Bard to a two-year extension last year after opting not to deal him. Prior to the Rockies’ decision to extend Bard, he was considered one of the hottest commodities on the trade market. Virtually every contender looks to bolster his bullpen, and Bard was in the midst of perhaps his finest season. He eventually finished 2022 with a career-high 34 saves, personal-best 2.86 FIP and a WHIP under 1.000.

But Bard landed on the injured list to start the regular season due to anxiety. That followed a battle with control issues during his appearances for the U.S. national team in the World Baseball Classic.

Cron recently returned after a six-week stint on the injured list due to back spasms. Before he succumbed, his production was down from his All-Star form of 2022. Profar has been an everyday lineup presence, but his power is down; he has just one home run in his last 40 games. Grichuk’s form dropped with that of the team in June; he has a .659 OPS this month after notching an .899 OPS following his return from a 27-game stint on the injured list to start the season. But he should still have some value, particularly for teams needing a bat to mash against lefties.

The omnipresent need for relief pitching also ensures that Hand and Johnson should receive interest.

Hand, signed in March, has been the stronger of the two this season. The southpaw settled into his setup role with a 3.62 ERA and a 3.09 K/BB rate that is his best in four years.

Johnson’s performance is more scattershot, with a 1.719 WHIP and a 4.58 FIP. His home-runs-per-9-innings rate spiked this year to 1.7, the worst of his career. His hard-hit-percentage of 50.6 is also a career-worst — with the exception of a one-appearance 2017 ledger.

After a pair of blown saves in early June, Johnson ceded the closer role to Justin Lawrence, who went 3-for-3 in save opportunities during the Rockies’ ongoing homestand. But Johnson fared better in his last nine appearances — eight of which saw him enter in the seventh or eighth innings. He posted a 1.000 WHIP, 14 strikeouts against 3 walks and a 2.25 ERA in that span. He also delivered scoreless setup work in each of the Rockies’ last three wins.

Also with expiring contracts are pitcher Brent Suter and DH Charlie Blackmon. But both appear unlikely to be dealt. Suter landed on the injured list last week due to a strained oblique, while Blackmon, the longest-tenured Rockie, remains on the injured list and has a no-trade clause.

That said, the Rockies won’t be able to remake their farm system with a series of moves. But they can build more depth and breadth of prospects if they can yield the type of return they got for Mike Moustakas last weekend — high-A pitcher Connor Van Scoyoc.

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