Rumors at the Winter Meetings have the Rockies connected to several top-shelf first basemen.
Rockies looking at big-ticket first basemen - Rockies.com
From the ongoing Winter Meetings, Thomas Harding provides a comprehensive rundown of the Rockies’ options at first base, with the big news from his piece being that the Rockies have had discussions with the White Sox about a trade for Jose Abreu, talks that started during last month’s general manager meetings. Harding also mentions the possibility of the Rockies going after marquee free agent Edwin Encarnacion to fill the spot.
Rockies trying to fill big hole at first base; expensive Mark Trumbo remains long-shot option - The Denver Post
In his article about the Rockies’ first base search, Patrick Saunders focuses on the possibility of free agent Mark Trumbo, who led baseball with 47 home runs as an Oriole in 2016. In addition to the Rockies, Trumbo is also said to be discussing a return to Baltimore.
Black sees upside in young Rox pitchers, catchers - Rockies.com
Rockies manager Bud Black talked with Harding about the team’s pitching and catching situation, emphasizing that in his opinion the keys to pitching well at Coors Field are the same as anywhere else, though mistakes are more severely punished at altitude.
Rockies’ Bud Black fields questions on Coors Field, Carlos Gonzalez’s future, filling first base - The Denver Post
Saunders also talked to Black, who said he expects Carlos Gonzalez to be in the Rockies’ lineup on Opening Day and therefore not traded in the offseason. Black also said he felt like Gerardo Parra could play some first base in a pinch, but that he views him as primarily an outfielder.
Star power: 30 players confirmed for Classic - MLB.com
MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg has a report from the Winter Meetings on the stars heading to the World Baseball Classic in March, including a pair of Rockies in Carlos Gonzalez, who will represent Venezuela, and Nolan Arenado, who will play for the USA.
Mark Melancon strikes it rich with Giants; Rockies still seeking relief - The Denver Post
One free agent who will not be coming to the Rockies is Colorado native Mark Melancon, who signed a four-year, $62 million deal with the San Francisco Giants, a price likely too rich for the Rockies, who have Adam Ottavino penciled in as closer for 2017.
The Rockies have reportedly inquired about signing Encarnacion
The Rockies are among the teams to have reached out to free agent Edwin Encarnación, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman.
It’s starting to look like the Rockies are measuring every available free agent and potential trade option to fill the team’s vacancy at first base. They’ve been connected to Mark Trumbo already. They’ve also been connected to a possible José Abreu trade. Professional dinger smacker Chris Carter also looks like an option. Now, it appears that the Rockies have at least reached out to free agent Edwin Encarnación.
Encarnación, 33, would fill one of the Rockies’ most glaring needs with right-handed power at first base. He has hit at least 34 home runs in each of the last five seasons and has always maintained a high on base percentage on account of his good batting eye. And unlike power hitters like Chris Carter and Mark Trumbo, Encarnación doesn’t strike out very much. Being able to put the ball in play regularly provides a lot of value at Coors Field. Adding Encarnación to the fold would make an already potent Rockies lineup downright scary.
He, like just about every other good option, would not come cheap. Encarnación is likely to make more in free agency than Trumbo. MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Encarnación will land a four year contract worth $92 million—$23 million a year. A four year contract would take him through his age 37 season. A four year deal would have a high likelihood of being a bad deal by the end of it, but none of that would matter if he can push the Rockies over the top.
In addition to money, signing Encarnación would also cost the Rockies their first round draft pick, the eleventh overall selection, because he has a qualifying offer attached. This would be tough to lose. But, again, that wouldn’t matter a wit if it meant contention in 2017 and 2018.
As Heyman notes, no team is close to signing Encarnación, and several are seeking his services. It might be a long shot, but at least it looks like the Rockies are giving it one.
The Rockies almost had Abreu when he came stateside. Might they finally be able to land him now?
The Colorado Rockies have had preliminary discussions with the Chicago White Sox about a possible trade to acquire Jose Abreu, according to Thomas Harding.
In his latest update, Harding says that the idea to trade for Abreu first emerged during the general managers meetings. While Harding also notes that the talks haven’t progressed past the preliminary stage, the Rockies have publicly said that they want to address their first base production problems from last year. Abreu would be an ideal solution.
Harding also said that the White Sox are seeking several prospects from the Rockies in exchange for Abreu’s services. While no details are given on who those prospects would be, it makes sense that the package would include one of the Rockies top position prospects like Ryan McMahon or Raimel Tapia.
This is the second time that the Rockies have tried to acquire Abreu. When he first defected from Cuba, the Rockies tried to sign him but lost out to the White Sox. Abreu had a phenomenal rookie campaign when he slugged .581 and had a league-leading 173 OPS+. He won the Rookie of the Year award as a 27-year-old.
While the performance the last two years was not as prolific, with OPS+ marks of 135 and 126 in 2015 and 2016 respectively, he would still be a big upgrade for the Rockies and would be under team control through the 2019 season. However, he did opt out of the original contract and into arbitration this offseason, so the financial outlay will probably be larger than what his original contract would have been. There is no cost certainty anymore.
This move would cost the Rockies in terms of prospects and money, but it would solve an immediate need in an uncharacteristically splashy and thorough manner.
2016-12-05T13:21:14-07:00This space is usually reserved for levelheadedness and patience. Not today! Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to present to you the Win-Now Colorado Rockies. I know, I probably sound crazy. “A team coming off of 75 wins last season,” you say, “and years of losing before that is ready to make the jump to contention? Get the hell outta here.” Here’s the thing: I won’t get the hell outta here, because I’m right. A mature, talented lineup combined with a solid young pitching staff and a bullpen that is most likely going to benefit from positive regression to the mean is going to mean good things for this club going forward. It just needs a few parts to bring everything together. The good news is that the Rockies don’t have to go full 2015 Padres or 2016 Diamondbacks in order to achieve the ultimate goal of contention in 2017. Nolan Arenado is already in place. And DJ LeMahieu. And Trevor Story. And Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis and Adam Ottavino. You get the point. Plus, the team doesn’t even necessarily have to trade Charlie Blackmon and/or Carlos Gonzalez, as many have suggested, to get the help it needs. If anything, these Rockies can—and should—win with these players right now, 2018 and beyond be damned. It sounds like a tall order, but it can be done. Here’s how: Sign Mark Trumbo The Rockies are interested in the 30-year-old slugger, according to multiple reports from the Winter Meetings, and for good reason. Trumbo, despite issues with strikeouts and on-base percentage, led the majors in homers last season with 47 and, when healthy, has been a near lock for 30 homers annually. Those are solid power numbers as it is; the hot takes about Coors Field improving offense are true, in case you didn’t know, so Trumbo improving upon that output at the plate is a likely scenario if he ends up donning purple pinstripes. Defensively, Trumbo’s struggles have been well documented over the years, but consider this: in 3046 innings as a first baseman, he’s been worth 12 runs above average, per Baseball-Reference. That’s not bad. What also isn’t bad is that, considering Trumbo ended up with more than 100 runs created for the Orioles last season, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that he could add almost a run per game at Coors Field for the Rockies. In other words, score more runs (while also doing your best to limit them defensively)! That would certainly help alleviate any concern over the pitching staff’s propensity to melt down. Trumbo would help with that. Chris Carter, who was recently non-tendered by the Brewers and will be available on the cheap, is a somewhat formidable backup plan. Get runners on base, hit dingers, collect Ws. Leave it out of the pitchers’ hands. It’s not that hard to envision. The downside to this is the Orioles have reportedly made a four-year offer—possibly in excess of $70 million—to retain Trumbo. The Rockies would have to, at the very least, match it. Extra years (ouch) or extra money (better) would be a major factor in whether the team can afford to do it. The other problem is that the acquisition of Trumbo would cost the Rockies the 11th overall pick in the upcoming draft, to which I say screw three/four/five years from now. This team can compete this year; 2021 can wait. Sign Neftali Feliz and/or Brad Ziegler Mark Melancon went off the market early on Monday, signing a four-year, $62 million deal with the division-rival Giants. That’s absurd money for a reliever, but it likely pales in comparison to what the top two players at that position—Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman—will get. The Rockies, of course, won’t be joining those sweepstakes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get a helpful arm or two at a decent price. Feliz, 28, is coming off of arguably his best season since winning the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2010, posting a 3.52 ERA but striking out 10.3 batters per nine innings for the Pirates. His com[...]
Rockies news and links for Monday December 5, 2016.
Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings are underway, and the Rockies could make a couple of moves to fill their two major holes, first base and the bullpen. The Rockies have demonstrated interest in free agent Mark Trumbo, although if they're going to go the "get a guy who can knock a bunch of dingers" route Chris Carter would be much cheaper and wouldn't cost a draft pick. While it's possible for the Rockies' bullpen to turn it around without adding from the free agent pool or trade, adding a second tier reliever could end up being a shrewd move.
It sounds like the price for Mark Melancon is going to be higher than the Rockies will be willing to pay. Melancon apparently has four-year offers that are worth more than $60 million from San Francisco and Washington. According to Jon Heyman, the mystery team with a similar offer out for Melancon could be Miami. It's unlikely to be the Rockies. And for $15 million a year for a reliever, they should pass.
But what about Brad Ziegler?
In a tweet, Buster Olney suggests that while Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon are clogging up the reliever market, "13 teams have checked in on Brad Ziegler." Earlier this offseason, Jeff Bridich told Patrick Saunders that the Rockies have reached out to "a lot of guys." Is Zieger one of those guys? Maybe! So let’s do the writer version of checking in on a guy and consider his fit with the team.
Ziegler, who didn’t debut until he was 28, is a 37-year old sidearmer who doesn’t strike a lot of batters out but does an excellent job of generating groundballs and suppressing home runs. He has a 2.44 career ERA for the A’s, Diamondbacks, and the Red Sox for a short time last season. Ziegler’s adjusted Deserved Run Average is 3.02. He’s also reliable. The Rockies haven’t had a reliever pitch more than 60 innings since 2014, and Ziegler has pitched more than 60 in each year since 2012. In Ziegler’s worst season, he posted a 3.49 ERA (2.92 DRA).
As for cost, MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Ziegler will get two years for $16 million. In other words, affordable in terms of money and years. A scrum of 13 teams could inflate that price, but Ziegler would fit with the Rockies. News out of the Winter Meetings will let us know what's going on with the Rockies and Ziegler.
Sunday links and news
The Rockies are approaching the ever-present problem of pitching at Coors Field with a new vision, adapting from the strict emphasis on the sinker/two-seamer to looking for guys who can make their pitch regardless of type and who are mentally tough enough to handle the inevitable adversities of pitching at altitude. The 2017 rotation will be built around four guys who bring different looks to the table in Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis, and Tyler Chatwood, while Bridich has stated that he'll be looking to upgrade the bullpen after another poor year from the group.
Rumors continue to swirl linking Trumbo and the Colorado Rockies, but whether those rumors are based on substantiated evidence of serious interest or just logic in the fit remain to be seen. Elsewhere in the division, the Giants are reportedly seeking an outfield bat and have been linked to J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce.
The Rockies' priority will be the bullpen and first base as we all know. Whether they try to make a splash by signing someone like Trumbo or opt for a cheaper move remains to be seen, while a number of names have been floated as candidates for bullpen reinforcement.
ESPN's writers discuss their predictions on where some of the offseason's biggest targets will end up.
Trumbo would solve the Rockies’ first base hole
The Colorado Rockies are rumored to have “continued interest” in free agent Mark Trumbo. According to Jon Morosi’s sources the Rockies may be looking to fill their first base hole with Trumbo, who hit a league-leading 47 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles last season. Morosi also says that the upcoming winter meetings will be an important time for Trumbo to establish his value and market. That market may determine if the Rockies are a legitimate candidate to sign him.
Trumbo played for the Angels, Diamondbacks, and Mariners in his career before being traded to Baltimore last offseason. In Baltimore he enjoyed one of the best offensive years of his career. Along with the impressive home run count, Trumbo slashed .256/.316/.533, good for a 120 OPS+. His overall value was hurt by the Orioles having to play him mainly in the outfield where he is not a good defender. However, Trumbo has historically been a solid first baseman when given the opportunity to play there, which he would for the Rockies.
While there is a lot to like about Trumbo playing first base for the Rockies, there is one major downside and that is the price. Last year was one of the best years of his career and will likely be difficult to repeat as he is now on the wrong side of 30. While Trumbo’s career OPS+ of 112 would still be a large upgrade over what the Rockies got from their first baseman last year, his price tag could reflect his peak year instead of his expected future production.
Trumbo also rejected a qualifying offer from the Orioles which means the Rockies would forfeit their first round pick (11th overall) in the 2017 draft. Combined with the expected large financial commitment to a player over 30 years of age and Trumbo becomes a very expensive signing for the Rockies.
Purple Row will have more on Trumbo and the rest of the Rockies free agent rumors as the winter meetings begin on Monday.
Non-tender deadline moves, first year effects of the Bridich Barrier and a preview of the weekend’s Winter Meetings for your Saturday.
On Friday, the Rockies agreed to terms with reliever Jake McGee on a one year, $5.9 million contract to avoid salary arbitration. McGee finished the season with 15 saves and a 4.73 ERA, after missing the entire month of June to a knee injury. General manager Jeff Bridich told media that he expects a more productive 2017 season from McGee — as well as Chad Qualls and Jason Motte -- who were brought in to bolster the bullpen with veteran presence.
Also ahead of Friday’s non-tender deadline, the Rockies did not tender contracts to rookie reliever Matt Carasiti and first baseman Stephen Cardullo. The Rockies now hold just 37 players on their 40-man roster.
Coors Field looked (and played) a bit different in 2016, after the addition of heightened fencing along segments of the outfield wall. The fences, reaching their peak height of 16 feet 6 inches in front of the bullpens in right-center field, saw their biggest impact on the home run totals of right handed batters. The Rockies two biggest right-handed run producers, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, each lost home runs to the playfully dubbed “Bridich Barrier”. But the overall effect of the fences didn’t hinder Rockies offense. The team hit more home runs at Coors Field in 2016 than in 2015 — 215 to 202, respectively. Due primarily to impressive showings from Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, as well as Story’s historic spring. The fences also had instances that worked in favor of Rockies pitching. Read all about that and more in this fascinating breakdown from MLB.com’s Thomas Harding.
2016 Winter Meetings Preview | Hardball Talk
Get information on available free agents, potential trade chips, Hall of Fame votes, and the Rule 5 draft ahead of this weekend’s Winter Meetings. Craig Calcaterra has the rundown in this Winter Meetings Preview.