Monday Rockpile: Winter Meetings Begin In Nashville

Doug Pensinger

Opening Day is still four months away, but we should start to have a pretty good idea what the 2013 roster is going to look in the next couple of weeks.

We have now entered December and if the Rockies are going to make any sizeable moves to shake up the roster come 2013, we should see signs of it in the next couple of weeks. Sometimes it's hard for Colorado fans to see their club making any real impact transactions but three of the last four off seasons have seen the club do just that by mid-December.

In 2008, the action started early as Matt Holliday was dealt in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith, and Huston Street in November.

Two years later, the Rockies were active on several fronts. Most notably, they took the remarkable step of committing to Troy Tulowitzki through the end of the decade when he was still four years away from free agency. Within hours of that move, the Rockies also announced the resigning of Jorge De La Rosa who briefly tested the free agent waters.

The early off season deals didn't stop there (although they probably should have) as Colorado also traded away Clint Barmes to Houston for Felipe Paulino, acquired Jose Lopez from Seattle, and signed Ty Wigginton from the free agent market.

More early off season moves commenced last year as the Rockies traded away Chris Iannetta, Ty Wigginton, Huston Street, and Ian Stewart as part of four separate deals that landed Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Colvin, and DJ LeMahieu. These deals also cleared enough payroll for the Rockies to sign both Ramon Hernandez and Michael Cuddyer to multi-year contracts.

All of these things are relevant to today because every single deal I just mentioned happened by December 16th of its respective offseason. The only recent year we didn't see the front office make any real significant moves by this date was 2009 (unless you count the resigning of Rafael Betancourt), and even that spoke volumes because the Rockies entered 2010 with largely the same roster they finished with the previous season.

In other words, we should have a pretty good idea about the direction the Rockies want to go in next season within the next 14 days. We obviously won't know all the details, and there will still be the possibility of big moves in January, but if recent history is any indication, several pieces of the puzzle should fall into place in the next couple of weeks.

The dilemma the club faces is not an easy one. After a 98 loss season, some fans may want radical change, but it's just not that simple. The biggest potential step forward for this club actually exists within the pieces it already possesses. If that step forward does come, it will come in the health of players like Troy Tulowitzki, as well as the growth of a bevy of young but raw talent.

The tricky part comes in figuring out just how close the Rockies are to contention if A) they remain mostly healthy and B) a few of their young players start to mature and make positive impacts on the 2013 club. The way the Rockies interpret this information will likely drive their decision making for the rest of the off season.

LINKS

Senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett and new manager Walt Weiss will be in Nashville this week for the Winter Meetings while Dan O'Dowd and Colorado scouts will work the phones from Denver.

Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post goes into more detail about the Rockies pitching plan for next season. Again, we see the grow from within theme.

Also from the Denver Post, Terry Frei discusses both his hope and frustration as it pertains to the Rockies.

Anthony Castrovince is looking at the trade market for what could be a very eventful week at the Winter Meetings across MLB.

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