Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies Mailbag.
Pose a Rockies — or MLB — related question for the Rockies Mailbag.
What is the likelihood of Daniel Bard pitching in another uniform this season? 50/50, higher or lower odds? Thanks for all your work and be well.
— Greg Jewett, Syracuse, N.Y.
Greg, that’s a very timely question. I would say that the odds are better than 50/50 that Bard is traded. There are a lot of reports/rumors out there that the Red Sox are interested in Bard. Remember, the right-hander, now 37, began his career in Boston and the Red Sox need relief help.
Bard’s one-year, $4.4 million deal is a bargain and I would imagine that Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt is going to demand a lot in return. He might get it.
Other teams that have reportedly shown interest in Bard include the Mets, Dodgers and Phillies.
But as I wrote in my Sunday column, I would not be shocked if the Rockies make a strong push to sign Bard to a long-term contract.
This is what I wrote: “It’s a no-brainer that the Rockies should trade him at the right price. But I would not rule out the Rockies attempting to give Bard a contract extension. They love his work ethic and his leadership and he’s become a second bullpen coach. I would imagine the Rockies will approach Bard soon and discuss his thoughts on a possible trade.”
Patrick, I know the popular opinion is that C.J. Cron should be our lone all-star representative this year, but I have another name to put under consideration: Daniel Bard. He has 15 saves and a 1.88 ERA. I don’t think he’s allowed a run in the last month. Plus, it’s such a feel-good story. What do you think?
— Ron, Parker
Ron, every team will be represented by at least one player at the All-Star Game on July 19 at Dodger Stadium. About a month ago, I was pretty certain that Cron would get the call. Now, I’m not so sure.
First base in the National League is jammed with talent, so Cron would have to be selected as a designated hitter. With his 17 home runs and 54 RBIs, Cron is certainly deserving of consideration. But he could get nudged out.
Right now, I think Bard has the inside track to represent the Rockies in the All-Star Game. As you mentioned, his statistics are amazing and his story is incredibly compelling. Put those two elements together and he’s an all-star. However, picking relievers for an all-star team is very unpredictable. Bard told me recently that he’d love to go but he’s not counting on it.
Hi Patrick, Here is hopefully an easy one for you. Brian Severn’s start has been very impressive both behind the plate and batting. Do you expect he will be sharing equal time catching with Elias Diaz soon?
— Judy Frieman, Denver
Judy, I recently penned a feature on Serven, writing that he had supplanted Diaz as Colorado’s No. 1 catcher. I might have jumped the gun on that.
Diaz, despite his continued struggles at the plate — .218 average, .781 OPS and four homers in 51 games — has actually been getting more time behind the plate than Serven.
Manager Bud Black and bench coach/catching coach Mike Redmond examine a lot of criteria when it comes to picking their No. 1 catcher. Game-calling and the catcher’s relationship with the pitchers sit high on Black and Redmond’s list. Diaz has the edge in that department. Plus, the Rockies gave Diaz a three-year, $14.5 million contract last November. The Rockies are going to do everything they can to see that Diaz remains their No. 1 catcher.
I hate to possibly compliment (front office) leadership and I despised the Rockies not moving Trevor Story at last year’s deadline to help a rebuild they refuse to acknowledge (is needed). However, are they about to get the best possible return they could have with the 31st pick in the draft? Have there been rumors about who was offered for Story at the deadline last year? It seems like there will be some very strong options available at No. 31 in the draft between college bats and college pitchers who are injured but have a big upside.
— Barney Ross, Castle Rock
Barney, I never pinned down the teams that offered the Rockies a deal for Story last summer. I believe a trade would have to have included some quality prospects for the Rockies to have shown any real interest. General manager Bill Schmidt said last year that no such deal ever materialized.
As for the Rockies’ pick at No. 31 (the supplemental pick for Story), I really have no idea who they will select. I’ve seen some “draftnicks” say that the Rockies have shown interest in Arkansas third baseman Cayden Wallace and Gonzaga right-hander Gabriel Hughes. But it’s very difficult to project who the Rockies will take at No. 31, let alone with the 10th pick of the first round.
When do you expect to be fully excited about the Rockies again? The second half of 2024? I’m not going off of the team’s record, but about just (looking forward) to seeing a young, fun and exciting team. I’m figuring it will be when Zac Veen, Ezequiel Tovar, Drew Romo, and ideally a big college bat from this year’s draft are all at Coors together. And, hopefully, the Rockies will make another (free-agent) signing once Charlie Blackmon’s contract is over.
— Lee Christmas, New Orleans
Lee, I think 2024 looks like a good timeline for the team you’re hoping the Rockies will field.
I figure that Veen, who has a chance to be a star outfielder, could debut in 2023. Tovar, who profiles as an excellent shortstop, could be in the majors by the end of this season. Romo, the catcher whom my colleague, Kyle Newman, profiled in Sunday’s Denver Post, should be the No. 1 catcher by then. You didn’t mention first baseman Michael Toglia, outfielder Brenton Doyle or left-handed pitcher Sam Weatherly.
But you have to add some caution to your optimism. Because for the Rockies, or any team, projecting far into the future can be a crapshoot. Injuries and stalled performance are the facts of life in minor league baseball.