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Thursday Rockpile: Rockies facing life after the Franchise? What would Napoli trade look like?

Today is the deadline for the Rockies to determine whether or not to pick up Miguel Olivo's option, but the latest indication is that regardless of the decision, the team doesn't expect Olivo to return in 2011. With an already crowded catching free agent market, including Victor Martinez, John Buck (who the Rockies aren't interested in) and Yorvit Torrealba among those currently available, my guess would be that the Rockies are unlikely to get a trade offer worth taking the Olivo option. That said, Olivo is probably undervalued by the general public as a lot of his contribution is defensive. While as Jeff Aberle has posted he's unlikely to reproduce 2010, he still has averaged out to be a two win, decent regular at the position over the last three seasons.

Jorge De La Rosa indicated to Jim Armstrong that he has a desire to return to the Rockies, and pitching coach Bob Apodaca wants him back, but the pitcher is leaving his off season fate in the hands of his agent for now. Re-signing De La Rosa is, of course, the Rockies major off season priority. Hash, rehash. Until JDLR does make a decision, we probably should figure on getting a lot of nothing new on this front. 

More news and some speculation on a potential Mike Napoli trade after the bump.

Off-topic discussion.

Meanwhile as posted yesterday, the Rockies officially declined Jeff Francis' 2011 option, which makes the career-long Rockie a free agent as well. Francis currently ranks third all time in wins and innings pitched for Rockies pitchers, fourth in strikeouts, fifth in ERA and ninth in Baseball-Reference WAR. Suffice it to say, he's been an important part of the team's history to date.

His options for the future include returning to the Rockies (a 60% chance according to Troy Renck) and potentially re-joining former manager Clint Hurdle, who is one of two finalists for the Pirates open managerial job, in Pittsburgh.

Troy Renck also posted on Twitter something we've been saying for awhile here, that Joe Beimel's role in the bullpen will be usurped by younger, cheaper options (Matt Reynolds and Rex Brothers) in 2011. Beimel might not get the offer he's looking for from Colorado.

Renck's also been posting frequently of late about the Rockies interest in Angels catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli as an alternative to going after the likely too expensive Victor Martinez. Napoli's thought to be available because the Angels have a bit of a mash-up at first and catcher with the return of Kendry Morales and the ascent of Hank Conger from the minors.

As a large market team, the Angels aren't really inclined to trade for prospects, so the Rockies would likely have to give equal MLB value in exchange for Napoli, which I'm guessing given that team's needs and the Rockies strengths would be a couple of our top relief pitchers, possibly including either Matt Belisle or Rafael Betancourt, as well as one of the younger MLB ready group, either Reynolds, Brothers, or Esmil Rogers. It's possible that Seth Smith could be a potential target for them as well. I'm guessing it would be a two or three for one swap, either way. This could be a difficult coup to pull off and I'm fond of all the players I just mentioned and their potential, but Napoli would represent a large boost to the team and could be worth it for the contention window.