Carlos Gonzalez is a very good player – when healthy, of course. This is evidenced by his 2015 slash line of .271/.325/.540, along with his 40 home runs and 114 wRC+. Or the .958 OPS (144 OPS+) he posted in 2013.
The Colorado Rockies are not a very good team. This is evidenced by their win totals from the past five seasons: 73, 64, 74, 66, and 68. They might become a good team soon, maybe even sooner than most think. Bleacher Report ranked the Rockies’ minor-league system fifth overall at the end of the 2015 season, which fits the general consensus that the Rockies are stacked with several intriguing prospects who could one day storm the major leagues and hopefully return Colorado to relevance.
Gonzalez’s Rockies career, however, probably won’t live to see that day. The slugging outfielder is owed $17 million in his age-30 season next year, and $20 million in his age-31 season the year after that, which will complete his backloaded contract extension. That’s a lot of money for an outfielder who’s starting to look like he’s past his prime. There are also some big injury concerns: Gonzalez put up a languid .238/.292./.431 slash line over just 70 games in 2014, while dealing with knee, hand, and ankle problems. The Rockies have made it no secret that they would love to unload his contract and extract some younger talent in return, while they still can, and they’ve ramped up efforts to do so after trading former franchise shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2015 deadline.
The good news for the Rockies is that there are plenty of teams whose outfield would be upgraded with Gonzalez. The bad news is that there are many outfielders still in free agency who would provide a similar or much better upgrade, and they wouldn’t necessarily be that much more expensive. The destinations of players such as Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, and Chris Davis will absolutely affect interest in Gonzalez, so the market still isn’t clearly defined. With that in mind, here are five teams that CarGo could be suiting up for on Opening Day 2016.