Not even an outfielder who hit 40 home runs last season was an enticing enough offer for the Orioles to part with Kevin Gausman. In the middle of a solid start to an outing in spring training on Wednesday, MLB Network's Jon Heyman casually dropped a tweet indicating that the O's refused to trade Gausman, "even for Carlos Gonzalez."
That's a reference to a couple of months ago when the Rockies found themselves with four left-handed hitting outfielders after signing free agent and former Oriole Gerardo Parra. The ultimate result was that the Rockies traded 26-year-old Corey Dickerson to the Rays for reliever Jake McGee and pitching prospect German Marquez.
Before that, the O's and Rockies were said to be involved in trade discussions involving one of the Rockies outfielders. The others were Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon. Based on Heyman's information, it seems like we can conclude what we already suspected about those trade discussions. They didn't work out because the Rockies wanted Gausman, who came from Colorado before he went to LSU, from whence the O's drafted him.
It would probably have been nice to see Gonzalez in an Orioles uniform for the next couple of seasons. Gonzalez, 30, had that 40-homer season last year while playing in a career-high 153 games. However, he's also due to make $37 million over the next two seasons - less of a concern now that we know the O's have deeper pockets than realized at the start of the year - and comes with the usual question marks about what's Coors Field and what isn't.
While Gonzalez's 2015 road OPS of .758 isn't awful, it's not anywhere near his home OPS of .972. He was also very, very bad against left-handed pitching, batting only .195/.222/.308 over 168 PA. Yikes. He is possibly capable of better than these numbers, as he posted only a .284 BABIP in 2015 compared to a .335 mark for his career... but, maybe he's lost a step as he's approached and passed the dirty 30.
Oh yeah, and the year before last, he played in only 70 games while posting a .723 OPS (and continued his BABIP pattern, at .283), and the year before that he played in only 110 games. That 2013 campaign saw Gonzalez perform phenomenally at the plate - .302/.367/.591, even better on the road than at home, but that's a lot of time to miss.
Trading five years of Gausman for Gonzalez or either of those other guys would have been the kind of thing that would have led to a figurative mob with torches and pitchforks storming the Warehouse. That would have been completely nuts and probably horrible for the Orioles. But of course that's who the Rockies wanted - the O's don't have very many other enticing names to even contemplate trading.
It seems safe to say that the Rockies had to settle for a lot less than Gausman in the trade they finally made in which they gave up Dickerson. Due to being younger and having more service time remaining, Dickerson might even have been a greater potential prize than Gonzalez was.
Yet for that more valuable player, the Rockies only got two years of a reliever and a mid-tier pitching prospect. Marquez is now the #14 prospect in the Rockies system, according to MLB.com.
Little wonder that the O's didn't budge at the time. It seems like Gausman is finally in Baltimore to stay, and that sounds good to me.