SAN DIEGO • Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt lives by a scout, draft, and develop policy.
That's how he believes the Rockies should be built, and he plans to stick to that philosophy. So when the trade-deadline buzzer sounded on Tuesday, with the Rockies the only team in MLB walking away without making a move, those both inside and outside the clubhouse started to question whether the team has a clear direction.
"We are who we are," Schmidt explained. "Trying to stay up with the Joneses, sometimes you can’t do that. We are not financially in that situation. We are going to do the best we can with the resources we have."
Right now, what the Rockies can do on the field is pretty bleak. They were 46-59 heading into the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Padres, 24 games behind the Dodgers in the division, and 10 games out of the wild-card spot.
And while the Rockies stayed the same, their NL West competitors were aggressive, likely furthering the gap between the franchises. The Padres, their opponents as the Tuesday deadline hit, made a blockbuster move to acquire superstar Juan Soto and Josh Bell, in addition to snagging Josh Hader and Brandon Drury. The Dodgers, sporting the NL's best record by a mile, got Joey Gallo as well as a few key relievers to bolster their bullpen.
"Am I worried? No," manager Bud Black said when asked about their competitors' acquisitions. "It's the reality."
The Rockies received calls on at least starter Chad Kuhl and relievers Carlos Estévez and Daniel Bard, a source said. They chose instead to extend Bard, their 37-year-old closer, for two years, something Schmidt made sure to emphasize as a way the team got better. But the Padres and Braves also made extensions, ones that were much more significant, and made multiple trades.
Infielder C.J. Cron could have been valuable on the market, but the Rockies weren't willing to trade him, because think they are close to contending, so therefore they need their affordable first baseman. They are scheduled to pay him just over $7 million next year.
José Iglesias and Alex Colomé, who are both on one-year deals, also could have been shopped. They probably will now be gone this winter, with the Rockies getting nothing in return.
"At the end of the day, we weren't able to pull anything off that we thought made us better at this point in time," Schmidt said. "We decided to stay where we were."
But now, for the second year in a row, the Rockies have a clubhouse that's confused about where this team is heading. Last year, they kept Trevor Story and Jon Gray at the deadline. Story had already clearly stated that he was leaving after the season, but the Rockies knew they could get an extra draft pick when he walked, something they valued more than what they were offered. It may be years before they see if they get any reward from that decision.
Gray, meanwhile, ended up walking after the Rockies weren't willing to match the offer the Rangers made. The team was left empty-handed.
As for the way the Rockies handled this deadline, Schmidt said he would welcome questions from players and would be happy to sit down with them. He did not make this trip, and was not willing to share what he would say to them if he was in San Diego.
The future of this team will now be dependent on what they do this winter. They need help and depth in every area, and they aren't going to find much from their farm system, which is ranked 24th, according to The Athletic. Most of their top prospects are below Double-A, years away from debuting.
The Rockies did make a splash last offseason, signing Kris Bryant to a seven-year, $182 million deal, just to have him spend most of the year on the injured list. Besides that, most of their moves came in the form of extensions, signing RHP Antonio Senzatela, LHP Kyle Freeland, catcher Elias Díaz and third baseman Ryan McMahon longterm. They intend to try to do the same with Kuhl.
"We like the guys we have," Schmidt said.