From a fan's perspective, the Rockies have been in a condition of limbo for the last four months. They've traded Troy Tulowitzki, but haven't moved or acquired anyone else of significance on the major league roster since. That condition of limbo however is about to end. We've now reached the busiest three weeks of the offseason and the front office must show us their hand.
The smart play here isn't the easiest one, as it requires moving more likable players and fielding a very underwhelming roster in 2016, but it's the only route that makes sense if you don't want the Tulowitzki trade to be an isolated bombshell that proves incompatible with a larger series of moves, which would the more frightening long term reality.
The last time the Rockies moved a big name at the summer deadline was in July of 2011 when they shipped Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. The following winter then involved more notable names getting moved including Chris Iannetta, Seth Smith, Huston Street, Ian Stewart, and Jason Hammel in five separate trades. We may not see that many moves this time around, but if Carlos Gonzalez is involved in one of the aftershock deals, we won't need to for this to provide a bigger impact.
Get ready folks, we're coming up on a fork in the road we can't turn back from.
Wilin Rosario leaves Rockies for free agency; Trumbo talk 'overblown' - Nick Groke / Denver Post
This link helps clean up a story that's been trickling slowly to its end over the last ten days. Wilin Rosario was part of a group of 40-man roster casualties last month when the club had to protect Trevor Story, Raimel Tapia, Antonio Senzatela, and Carlos Estevez from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. Two other players who were Designated For Assignment in that series of moves - Rex Brothers and Tommy Kahnle - had some trade value and were dealt accordingly for lottery ticket arms in the low minors (Yency Almonte and Wander Cabrera).
Rosario however has no trade value so the club attempted outright him to Triple-A Albuquerque. As a player with at least three years of major league service time though, Rosario has the right to refuse that assignment and elect free agency, so that's exactly what he did here.
Goodbye, Wilin. Hopefully you find a nice home with an AL club.
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Then there's also this quote from Groke in that piece:
A Major League Baseball source on Tuesday said that rumors of the Rockies aggressively pursuing Seattle Mariners first baseman Mark Trumbo are "overblown."
The noise here seems more about Seattle than it was about the Rockies. Tonight is the deadline to tender arbitration eligible players a contract, and I believe the Mariners had no intention to do that with Trumbo as he stands to make about $9 million in that process.
As a result, they tried to trade him for whatever they could get, and that "whatever" turned out to be Baltimore's backup catcher Steve Clevenger. The Rockies were probably interested if they could have grabbed Trumbo for nothing and packaged him as part of another trade either later this winter or next summer at the deadline, but as Groke's source noted, the idea that the Rockies were "aggressively" pursuing this target was overblown.
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As mentioned above, the MLB tender deadline is tonight. The Rockies have five arbitration eligible players left on their 40-man roster who need to be tendered a contract by 10:00 p.m. MT tonight, and there's at least a 99 percent chance all of them will. Here's that list and their projected 2016 salaries from MLB Trade Rumors:
- Adam Ottavino (4.087) – $1.6MM
- Jordan Lyles (4.060) – $2.8MM
- DJ LeMahieu (3.128) – $3.7MM
- Charlie Blackmon (3.102) – $4.5MM
- Nolan Arenado (2.155) – $6.6MM
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Red Sox, David Price reach record-breaking $217m deal - Peter Abraham / The Boston Globe
This was the move heard round the baseball world yesterday, and it tightens the noose around the necks of our NL West rivals who are locked in a game of musical chairs as they try to court the top pitching on the market.
Coming into the offseason, the four biggest arms out there were David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann, and Johnny Cueto. Well now Zimmermann and Price are already off the board thanks to Detroit and Boston, and there's a whole lot more than two teams who want to add an ace.
This likely leaves the Dodgers and Giants in a potential bidding war for the ages in pursuit of Greinke while the loser is left to fight it out with D-Backs, Cubs, Cardinals (and maybe others) for Johnny Cueto if they want to add a top of the rotation pitcher this winter. This isn't to say there's not more pitching on the market, but there's a clear drop off to the Hisashi Iwakuma, Yovani Gallardo, Wei-Yin Chen, John Lackey, and Jeff Samardzija tier, and all of those players will also cost you a draft pick to sign.
As of this moment, the Dodgers and Giants each have one ace going into 2016. Whoever wins the Greinke sweepstakes (assuming one of them wins it) will have two. The importance of this isn't difficult to figure out in the short term, but it's also important for the Rockies long term, because the winner of this deal could be paying Greinke over $30 million a season until 2021, and the back end of that contract could help tie up payroll in an aging / declining player when the Rockies have a chance to compete.
So from a Colorado perspective, you want Greinke to get as much money as possible from one of these teams and then have the loser of this showdown go out and tie up the books long term on another pitcher who isn't as good in an attempt to keep up.
The other reason this is significant to the Rockies is that it comes full circle to the beginning of this post. Once Greinke goes, most of the top shelf pitching is off the board. This combined with the tender deadline and the Winter Meetings next week in Nashville should really set the trade market in motion, which is where the Rockies should be most active.
There's no doubt about it now. The stove is heating up, and it's almost show-and-tell time for Jeff Bridich and the Rockies front office.