Trevor Story is widely seen as one of the top trade candidates in baseball, and if the Rockies don’t move him prior to the July 30 trade deadline, they reportedly can’t count on him returning as a free agent for 2022 and beyond.  Story doesn’t plans to re-sign with the Rox when he hits the open market this winter, sources tell Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.

The two sides hadn’t discussed an extension as of February 23, according to Story, though it isn’t known if any negotiations took place during March or even beyond Opening Day.  That said, given the amount of discussion that would go into working out a long-term deal worth well north of $200MM, the fact that the Rockies had yet to broach the subject even by late February of Story’s walk year could be seen as a sign that the team wasn’t counting on Story sticking around.

Frankly, it would be more surprising if Story did have designs on a return to Denver, considering that the Rockies are struggling through another losing season and seem closer to a rebuild than a return to contention.  Interim GM Bill Schmidt told Saunders and other reporters that the team has been showing some improvement on the field, and felt that the Rockies were just a few clutch hits away from having a much better record than their current 24-36 mark.  Even if Colorado was a few games closer to the second NL wild card slot than its current 10.5-game deficit, however, that still shouldn’t change the equation about how the Rockies seem overdue to reshuffle their roster.

Regardless, it’s clear that the Rockies haven’t publicly thrown in the towel on the 2021 season just yet, as Schmidt said that it’s “not necessarily” the case that Story or Jon Gray would be dealt.  Trade discussion has yet to pick up in general, as Schmidt said that “some clubs have reached out and expressed (interest), if we get to that point.  But there has not really been anything to talk about…There is nothing really to follow up on.”

Saunders doesn’t feel the team would move Story prior to the All-Star Game in Denver, so it will likely be over a month before trade speculation can really begin in earnest on Story, Gray, or any other Rockies.  Plus, Story has to take the first step of just getting back on the field, as the shortstop has been on the 10-day injured list since May 28 (retroactively) due to right elbow inflammation.  Colorado manager Bud Black told MLB.com’s Thomas Harding and other reporters that Story is expected to be ready for the start of the Rockies’ series with the Marlins on Tuesday.

When and if Story’s trade market picks up, both MLB Network’s Jon Morosi and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale expect the Athletics to be involved.  Oakland is leading the AL West despite getting sub-replacement player value from Elvis Andrus at shortstop, as Andrus is hitting only .214/.259/.273 through 201 plate appearances.  Most of those struggles were contained to the first month of the season, as Andrus has hit a more respectable .295/.337/.385 over 83 PA from May 7 to June 5, but there is little doubt Story would be a much bigger upgrade for an A’s team that has postseason aspirations.

Payroll would be a major factor in any potential Story/Oakland deal, as the shortstop is owed $17.5MM for the 2021 season and will still have approximately $5.92MM in remaining salary by late July.  While it doesn’t seem like a huge splurge for an All-Star shortstop, it remains to be seen what the budget-conscious A’s have available to spend, or if they feel the value of having Story for a World Series push is worth both the salary outlay and the prospects the A’s would be sending to Colorado in a trade.