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Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Rockies’ Extension Offer To Jon Gray Was In $35-40MM Range

Two weeks ago, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reported that the Rockies had made an unsuccessful extension offer to Jon Gray. Nick Groke and Eno Sarris of the Athletic shed a little more light on that effort, reporting that Colorado made a three-year offer in the $35-40MM range.

With extension overtures rejected, Gray is now set to hit the open market once the World Series wraps up this week. Groke and Sarris write that the Rox are likely to issue him an $18.4MM qualifying offer, which would entitle the club to draft pick compensation were he to sign elsewhere. Qualified free agents have ten days to decide whether to accept or reject the QO, so Gray and his representatives at CAA Sports will have some time to gauge interest before making the call on whether to return to Denver for a strong one-year salary or reject in hopes of landing a stronger multi-year offer.

Gray will be one of the trickier evaluations for teams looking through the market for free agent starters. The right-hander has two seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA on his resume, no small feat for a pitcher who calls Coors Field home. Outside of a terrible eight-start showing during last year’s shortened season, Gray has regularly posted strikeout rates a tick or two above the league average for starters. He’s put up similarly solid walk and ground-ball marks in recent years, and his 2021 campaign was largely par for the course.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 02, 2021 at 11:55 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jon gray, rockies

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   1. Darren Posted: November 02, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6050750)
That's a decent offer, I think?
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: November 02, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6050754)
That's a decent offer, I think?
The Jon Gray buzz is building! Yes, I think it's a decent offer. He probably is daring them to offer a QO, which he might accept. Or if they don't, he can probably at least get close to the spurned offer in free agency and maybe end up on a winning team.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 02, 2021 at 04:14 PM (#6050755)
Gray consistently puts up higher ERAs than FIPs. He seems to have a disaster inning about once per start, which I think is the reason for that. But he pitches very well in Coors Field, and seems to like it here, so I hope this is not the end of the negotiations.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 02, 2021 at 05:27 PM (#6050779)
I don't know that I'd call it "decent" (I might) but it's not "insulting." He's got a career 107 ERA+ and has been quite durable and is coming off a healthy season of 104. It's hard to know what SPs are worth with current usage but for 2018-21, he's 53rd in pitcher WAR. That puts him in the range of Gibson, Urias, Thor, Gallen, Eflin, Keuchel, Eovaldi, Musgrove, Manaea and some others. Keuchel got 3/$55 in 2020; Eovaldi got 4/$68 in 2019. But Gibson got only 3/$28 in 2020 (probably slightly worse track record); DeSclafini just 1/$6 for 2021. Thor of course was a much better pitcher who hasn't pitched in two seasons so not a good comp but an interesting question of how much do you value (past) durability. Essentially the same for Urias. Most of the rest are either still in arb or have been hurt.

I suspect it comes down to peripherals, statcast, Coors adjustments, etc. As Tom notes, Gray's FIP is much better than the ERA which could mean he'll be more a 120 ERA+ pitcher in the future. The K-rate is high, the HR rate looks darn good for Coors (but maybe getting worse). Somewhat different shape but standard peripherals are pretty similar to Eovaldi (who led the AL in FIP this year). Seems to me Gray's reputation has always been higher than his outcomes which is usually a good thing for a FA pitcher. But maybe he is seen as more of a Gibson type.

So I'll guess he'll at least match that offer and more likely end up at $15+ AAV. The big question is probably whether he gets a 4th year (age 33). I will add that if you're worried about giving Gray 3/$50 then you are never going to sign any FA pitcher with a decent track record.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: November 08, 2021 at 09:11 AM (#6051855)
The Rockies did not offer him a QO.
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 08, 2021 at 12:57 PM (#6051892)
I've seen some supposition that the Rockies might not have offered Gray a qualifying offer because they're deep into negotiations with him on a longer-term contract. Given that it's the Rockies, though, the more likely explanation is that they don't know what they're doing.

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