Earlier this season Colorado decided to hang onto him rather than trade him for any pieces to rebuild the team.
Among those who did not receive qualifying offers: Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Rodon, Anthony DeSclafani and Jon Gray. The most surprising of the bunch might be Gray. Rockies didn’t deal him at the deadline, didn’t extend him and now won’t get any compensation at all if he leaves.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 7, 2021
Then, they made a questionable decision after the season to not extend a qualifying offer to him.
This means that if Gray signs with a different team this offseason, which is a possibility, the Rockies will receive no compensation pick.
Gray, a 30-year-old right-handed pitcher, has shown glimpses of being a serviceable starter throughout his seven Major League seasons.
Jon Gray, Filthy 91mph Slider…and Sword. 🐺⚔️ pic.twitter.com/zjHRbqHOVw
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 25, 2019
However, a lack of consistency has turned him into a question mark for both the Rockies and any teams looking to sign him.
Gray Decision Reflects Rockies’ Recent History
The Rockies are a non-competitive team.
They have no hopes to make the postseason in the next couple of years, especially with teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants dominating their division.
Because of this, the team has shifted their focus on rebuilding their roster, starting with their questionable trade of Nolan Arenado.
The Nolan Arenado-to-St. Louis trade is official. Other players in the deal have been informed. The return for the Rockies: Left-hander Austin Gomber and prospects Elehuris Montero (3B), Mateo Gil (3B), Tony Locey (RHP) and Jake Sommers (RHP).
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 2, 2021
Arenado is one of the best third basemen in baseball, and he lost faith in the Rockies when they failed to build a winning team around him.
Trevor Story is another example of the Rockies’ failures, as they refused to make a certain decision on their start shortstop.
With him becoming a free agent this year, the Rockies neither traded him before the deadline nor signed him to an extension.
While they did extend him a qualifying offer, meaning they will receive a compensation pick if he signs elsewhere, they missed out on a potentially major return package in a trade.
This shows that the Rockies don’t know the direction of their franchise: do they want to hang onto their core pieces or fully rebuild?
The fans are left without a clear path forward that the organization is going to take.
Was Not Giving Gray The Qualifying Offer A Smart Move?
On the surface, the move to not give Gray a qualifying offer is questionable.
However, it may prove to be a smart move by the Rockies.
Gray has expressed his interest in returning to the Rockies, though he’d like to explore his options in free agency.
The Rockies can assume that they have a good chance of returning Gray at a much lower price tag than the qualifying offer is worth.
If the Rockies gave him the $18.4 million qualifying offer, they would have to devote a large portion of their available payroll to just Gray.
This would make him by far the highest paid pitcher on the roster.
The Rockies would like to avoid this and will likely offer a multi-year deal for around $10 million annually.
If they do land him, it would prove to be a smart move by the front office.
Gray has the potential to become a solid second or third starter in a rotation, and a deal like that could become very club-friendly.
If he decides to sign elsewhere, it would be a major blunder for a team that needs to decide whether they want to become contenders or rebuild.