Let's just break it down real simple. We would like to add the most productive bat possible to this already productive roster. We can take a look at who the most productive hitters are in MLB by just ranking the qualified players in order of OPS.
I took a look at this list and I noticed a couple of things. Most of these players are on teams that are on contenders. A few of these guys are still in pre-arbitration. Some of these guys have huge super long term contracts, some through 2020, that the Rockies just aren't going to be able to pick up. Finally, we're pleased to see that there are 3 Rockies on this list, but being greedy we want to make it 4.
Now lets try to find a guy with highest OPS that the Rockies could actually get. With the Cuddyer flexibility we don't really need to look closely at their position. This player is probably coming from a team that's out of contention. The first name you see, and think hey we might actually be able to get this guy is Raul Ibanez. He is playing for Seatle, they are out of it, his contract ends this year, and is for $2.75M. The problem is he is probably the best bat on the market and Seatle is going to want some good prospects for him. He would be a rental player and the Rockies said said they won't trade prospects for rentals.
Now we come to the first two Toronto players. Toronto is out of it. We're hearing they're sellers. They may want to dump salary too. First Edwin Encarnacion. He is signed $7M/year through 2015, so not a rental, but a little longer contract than might be preferred. The concern with him is the defensive. People call him E5, although he's gotten most of his time at 1B the last 3 years. Our ground ball pitching strategy requires as strong an IF defense as possible. I'm not sure it's worth the risk, although picking him up would be a strong statement that the contention window extends to 2015.
Second Blue Jay Adam Lind. Arb Eligible signed for $4.2M/year through 2013. With club options for 15, 16. So if the Rockies pick him up he's a rental player. With the cost control, he might have more value to Toronto than anyone else.
Next possible player Carlos Gomez signed through 2016, for $7M/year. He's having a above average season with a BABIP of .353 . Milwaukee would be selling high. Since they got him locked up through 2016, he might be someone they want to keep. A promising option, I wish the contract ended next year but he could be a possible addition. I just think it's going to take a haul of players.
Jean Segura is prearb, isn't even a free agent until 2019. Not happening.
Finally we get to Jose Bautista. $12.8M/year signed through 2015. Not to excited about his SO # and BA, but this isn't just a fluke year. He's been able to produce like this since ~2010. What I don't know is how much Toronto looks at him as a franchise player vs. how much they would like to spend that $12.8M salary else were during this rebuilding period. If a deal did happen, the Rockies might be able to get him as basically a salary dump.
But he's too expensive. I agree $12.8M is a big addition to the payroll. It may prohibit them from making big off season moves, but what were we going to do in the off season anyway(besides try to extend JDLR). Here is another way to look at it. Right now the payroll is $72M. Last year it was $75M. In 2011 it was $88M, and in 2010 it was $84M. Adding this huge contract brings them to the ~2010 payroll numbers. One might say it makes up for the last 2 years when they didn't have to shell out as much money. Worst case, they fall out of contention next year, and end up moving him for some prospects while maybe eating some of his contract.