Rockies' options after Trevor Story

DENVER -- Since Trevor Story turned down the Rockies’ qualifying offer on Wednesday, as expected, it’s time to explore the possibilities as the team tries to fill the shortstop position that Story manned at a standout level for the past six seasons.

General manager Bill Schmidt has said the Rockies are looking at all options, so let’s break those down:

1. Sign the proven guy
From all sources, aside from Story making a surprise decision to return -- technically he can, even though he spurned the QO of $18.4 million -- or one of the other highly regarded members of this shortstop class picking the Rockies, this is the preferred route. A veteran who can put outs away with the glove and put the ball in play with the bat, until No. 11 prospect Ezequiel Tovar is ready, would be ideal.

Here are some possibilities, which at this early stage of the offseason would best be termed as something between logical assumptions and educated guesses:

José Iglesias, 31
Iglesias batted .271 and struck out just 75 times in 511 plate appearances while moving through the order with the Angels and Red Sox last season. He also is a solid fielder whose range should be enhanced by playing beside third-base Gold Glove finalist Ryan McMahon. Iglesias does not walk much, but he makes contact and moves runners.

Andrelton Simmons, 32
Simmons saw an offensive dip last season in 131 games with the Twins, batting .223/.283/.274, after posting a .297/.346/.356 slash line in 30 games with the Angels in 2020. According to Statcast, Simmons achieved 16 outs above average, fourth among Major League shortstops in 2021. He has four Gold Glove Awards.

Freddy Galvis, 32
Galvis’ 2021 season was interrupted by a right quadriceps strain in June that he sustained with the Orioles, before he was traded back to the Phillies, his original team. His solid defense, ability to slide to second or third base if needed and reputation for playing the game the right way makes him attractive. Galvis, however, expressed in October a strong desire to return to the Phils.

2. If you can’t beat him, sign him …
The Rockies already know about the powerful bat of 31-year-old Chris Taylor, whose positional profile includes second base, shortstop and the outfield. In 40 games -- 30 won by the Dodgers -- against the Rox over the last three seasons, Taylor has hit .299 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs and compiled a 1.039 OPS. If signed, Taylor would likely continue playing the outfield and middle infield, with possibly Garrett Hampson or Brendan Rodgers sliding to short when Taylor is in the outfield or operating as designated hitter.

But Taylor received a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, and signing him would cost the Rockies a Draft pick, essentially eliminating the compensation for losing their former shortstop.

3. Ride the trade winds
This is difficult, because it’s early in the offseason and trade possibilities have yet to crystalize. But the Rockies have players they can move. The search for outfield bats could make Raimel Tapia available, but the Rox also would have to include some of their first-base depth or even pitching at the lower levels.

4. Look inside, with fresh eyes
Rodgers was drafted as a shortstop, and the Rockies haven’t forgotten. No one has determined that he can’t play short, but the Rox believe his tools work better at second base. Colorado has continued to develop Alan Trejo, who batted .217 in sparse Major League playing time this season and hit .278 with 17 home runs and 72 homers in 90 games at Triple-A Albuquerque.

In the name of being open to everything, Schmidt has said recently the team could look at McMahon at short, given that he has made big plays from a shortstop-like position in the shift. But moving McMahon would become an option only if the Rockies’ other pursuits fall through.

5. Fool us all and don’t turn the page
Schmidt has said all along that the Rockies will take their shot at Story, who made two All-Star Game appearances and compiled the fifth-highest bWAR in club history (26.7). But a realistic look shows how difficult that could be.

It would require outbidding teams with greater payrolls, of course. And taking into account Story’s description of what he seeks, it would take quick signings of free agents for lineup protection. The problem is that many players are expected to take a slow look at the market.

The more likely result is the that Rockies will close the book on Story and open a new chapter by pursing desirable outfield bats. Kyle Schwarber, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Avisaíl Garcia and Tommy Pham would not cost them a Draft pick. Taylor, Michael Conforto and Nick Castellanos would, but Colorado would give up the pick for the bats at the right price.

Ideally, the Rockies could sign two of the aforementioned players. But they could settle for one and aim to trade at the Deadline if they’re close to contending.

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