MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

CarGo dealing with annual Deadline rumors

Free agent after 2017, Rockies' All-Star focused on this year's team

CarGo dealing with annual Deadline rumors

DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich shrugged his shoulders.

"Tis the season, I guess," he said.

Yep. The All-Star break is around the corner. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is 24 days away. And the rumor mill is heating up.

Sometimes there's substance. Most times there isn't.

CarGo's diving catch ends frame

What was on Thursday is a story on TodaysKnuckleball in which writer Jon Heyman said Gonzalez met with Rockies officials and expressed a desire to be traded because he was frustrated with the team's lack of success. Heyman later backtracked, saying there was not a meeting, but Gonzalez is frustrated.

Gonzalez has done a good job of masking the frustration, if there is any. He is one of the more upbeat players in the game, and he is rarely without a smile and kind word for anyone he encounters.

And Gonzalez's denial of the report was adamant.

"I got a call this morning from Scott Boras, my agent, asking about what happened," Gonzalez said. "I don't know what happened. Maybe I was in my sleep [for the meeting].

"It's not true. I haven't said that to anybody; not my wife, kids or mom. When I go home, I am frustrated about what I didn't do if we didn't win. I have never said I want to go anywhere else."

With the Rockies having not finished higher than third place in the National League West in six years, and coming off a 1-5 road trip against the Dodgers and Giants, at 39-46 after beating the Phillies on Thursday, they are ripe for speculation as a team that will be sellers in the next couple of weeks.

"The Trade Deadline is coming and so rumors are rampant," said Bridich. "People feel a need to stir things up."

CarGo's three-run homer

The situation is reminiscent of a year ago when Troy Tulowitzki eventually was traded to the Blue Jays for three pitching prospects and shortstop Jose Reyes, which touched off an emotional reaction from Tulowitzki, who said he was caught off-guard by the trade and felt he should have been involved in the conversations.

Tulowitzki, however, was a much different situation than Gonzalez. Tulowitzki was an All-Star-caliber shortstop when healthy, but he has been haunted by injuries in recent years, and at the time of the trade, he had more than $100 million remaining on a contract that includes an option for 2021. Teams that could afford Tulowitzki, in terms of salary flexibility and prospects, were limited.

There is no guarantee that Gonzalez couldn't wind up in a similar situation in the next couple of weeks, but the overall pressure on Colorado to deal Gonzalez is nowhere near as significant as it was with Tulowitzki.

Gonzalez, 30, is in his prime. He was named an All-Star on Tuesday, having been one of the top three vote-getters among NL outfielders in voting by players. Gonzalez went into Thursday hitting .319 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs. Troubled with injuries two years ago, he has put to rest any concerns in the last year.

CarGo's three-run homer

Since the All-Star break a year ago, Gonzalez leads NL players with 45 home runs, ranks third in the NL with 113 RBIs, fourth with a .947 OPS and ninth with a .303 average. He also has a plus throwing arm and is capable of playing all three outfield positions.

What's more, Gonzalez has only one year remaining, at $21 million, on his contract, which expands the number of teams who theoretically could take on his salary.

Gonzalez, however, has long shown a desire to play for the Rockies. In January 2011, a year away from being eligible for arbitration, he agreed to a seven-year, $80 million deal with Colorado despite Boras' objections.

"I am thankful for the opportunity I have to play for this organization," Gonzalez said. "As long as I continue to do my dream, which is playing Major League Baseball, it is a bonus. What I care about is being healthy, being a good teammate, playing hard and help the team win."

And Gonzalez isn't hung up over the Rockies' recent struggles. He was a part of Colorado's second-half run to the NL Wild Card in 2009, hitting .588 in four NL Division Series games against Philadelphia, and he remembers the enthusiasm in the Rocky Mountain region.

"Who is to say it's not possible?" Gonzalez said of the Rockies returning to the postseason. "We have good young players, guys we hope take the next step. I have been here for a lot of bad moments and situations. I want to be here when it happens [again]."

Will Gonzalez be around? Only time will tell.

But if Gonzalez leaves, it won't be because he forced the issue.

Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.