If you've made it this far in our series of post profiling free agents that might fit with the Colorado Rockies this winter, thank you, and congratulations — you are now reading the final post in that series. After a few relatively dead weeks in November as baseball was relatively bereft of significant transaction news — which necessitated the series of profiles during the lull — we now find ourselves upon the Winter Meetings. Thank you, baseball gods!
Consider this post your initial Winter Meetings thread to debate, discuss, question and cajole the Rockies in their moves (or non-moves) over the next week. We'll also preview a little bit of what to expect this week below. And of course, as always, we'll have everything you could possibly need when it comes to covering trades, free agent acquisitions, the Rule 5 Draft, and whatever else goes down over the next few days.
The Winter Meetings
Here's the basic full schedule for the Winter Meetings, which last through Wednesday night's closing gala and, of course, Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft. And here's a far more detailed hour-by-hour schedule (PDF) of every single meeting that is set to take place for various minor leagues and other sub-groups.
Aside from trades and free agent acquisitions, the Winter Meetings serve as a massive professional baseball job fair, a series of professional workshops, trade shows, merchandise and equipment fairs, and more. For those reading this who may be going to Nashville looking for a job in baseball, best of luck! Wear clean clothes, brush your teeth, and look people in the eye and give 'em a firm handshake. Baseball people love that. Also, tell 'em you know me. (Kidding. Seriously, don't do that. You'll get kicked out.)
The Rockies' outlook
I fully realize this is arbitrary and wrong, but in a way, I consider this week Jeff Bridich's "first" Winter Meetings at the helm of the Rockies, considering he was on the job for just a few weeks last winter when they came around on the schedule. The young general manager has already made one blockbuster trade in his tenure, and now he'll likely do something else big this week.
Obviously, all eyes are on Carlos Gonzalez (more on that in a second). His trade (or not) will set the tone for what Jeff Bridich plans on doing with the club over the next few years, and the GM has been tight-lipped thus far about what might or might not happen with CarGo.
Beyond that, the Rockies need two things this winter, and it's the same two things they always seem to need: starting pitchers, and relief pitchers. Lord knows we covered more than enough starting pitchers in this series of free agent profiles; now, the Rockies must decide whether to go after an uninspiring but cheap one and be patient through another poor season, or make a run at a better one (Ian Kennedy? Mike Leake?) knowing that 2017's free agent class is comparatively weak on the mound.
I'm personally of the mind that the Rockies could also use a left-handed specialist in the bullpen, so I wouldn't be surprised if they kicked the tires on any number of the abundance of lefty relief options that are on the market right now. And of course there will be plenty of right-handed and late-inning relief options of various quality on the market this week, as there are every winter. You can never have enough bullpen depth, we tell ourselves every winter, while seeming to need to re-learn that axiom every summer.
Beyond that, any number of crazy things could happen. Or nothing! Nothing could happen, too!
Moves you may see
There are quite a few legitimate landing spots for the outfielder, and considering his white-hot finish to 2015 combined with the Rockies' likely irrelevance for at least another year as they re-tool with youth, the writing is on the wall for Bridich to move another bona fide superstar. The Rockies ought not move CarGo for a bad return, of course, but they also shouldn't hesitate if they get a strong offer of prospects and/or pitching. After all, it's unlikely Gonzalez will see his value increase further next season ahead of a deadline trade in July. (But what the hell do I know, right?)
If the Rockies are intent on moving outfielders for prospects and/or pitching, and either the right CarGo deal never materializes, or a smaller/simpler deal does come forward, there's a case to be made to move Charlie Blackmon this winter, too. Coming off a 2015 season statistically similar (but stronger) than his All-Star 2014, Blackmon's value is high and he still has a few seasons of team control before free agency. That being said, though, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't get moved yet, since he's such a controllable asset.
Free agent pitching
There's a lot of ways to go with this, but seeing who Jeff Bridich chooses to pursue and what the Rockies do or don't come away with will be telling for just how far away from contention the GM believes the club to be. Adding Mike Leake or anybody else near that caliber immediately starts the clock on what would probably be a more expedited re-build. Adding someone far further down the totem pole, on the other hand, ought to tell you the Rockies are content to kick the can down the road for another season while prospects and younger players develop. (Either option could be fine!)
Others who could be on the block
I don't think LeMahieu will go anywhere, but it's worth looking down the Rockies' roster and recognizing that there's a case to be made for the Rockies to trade anyone whose value is high (except for the probably-hopefully-untradeable Nolan Arenado). Coming off the best offensive year of his career to date, there's at least a decent chance LeMahieu never does that again; his trade value right now may be higher than it will ever be, even without playing a premium position.
For the same sell-high reasons as LeMahieu, Hundley is fresh off a very good offensive season (yeah, I know, Coors Field) and the Rockies have Tom Murphy waiting in the wings to be the apparent catcher of the future. Plus, after signing Jackson Williams to a minor league deal earlier this week, the Rockies now have at least three catching options with big league experience (Murphy, Williams, Dustin Garneau) and a fourth (Ryan Casteel) waiting in the wings at Triple-A should Hundley be moved. It may make more sense for the Rockies to ease Murphy into a bigger role in 2016, though, and move Hundley in July near the trade deadline.
Jorge de la Rosa
As a successful veteran starting pitcher on an expiring contract, Jorge de la Rosa certainly fits the mold of a piece attractive to teams in or close to contention. He has 10 years of Major League experience, and five years with the Rockies, though — which means he can veto any hypothetical trade — and his success at Coors Field makes him significantly more valuable to the Rockies than likely any trading partner. Just like Hundley, if de la Rosa is traded, it's more likely this will happen in July.
Logan has very little value right now after two pretty miserable seasons with the Rockies, but he is a big, hard-throwing and experienced veteran lefty reliever on an expiring contract. The Rockies would do well to wait until July to try to move him to a playoff hopeful that's getting desperate for temporary relief help, but I suppose I wouldn't be that upset if somebody actually gave up a prospect-ish minor leaguer for dear ol' Boone this week.
Ha ha ha ha ha, just kidding. No one is going to take this guy.
What if the Rockies do nothing?
Well, that would admittedly suck. It'd be strange for the Rockies to trade Troy Tulowitzki, as they did in July, and then turn around and keep the second half of their expensive superstar duo. In the most esoteric sense, either re-build or don't, right? If you don't go all the way, it's not going to click... or so common sense would tell us.
That being said, if teams offer hot garbage for CarGo, the Rockies are under no obligation to move him simply to move him, so even if the club makes no moves (or some very, very minor ones) over the next week, it's not necessarily a lost opportunity. We'll likely never know the trades that don't come to fruition, of course, but it'd be damn interesting to see what teams have offered the Rockies for CarGo over the past year, and what they might offer this week in Nashville.
Of course, the Winter Meetings this year are back in Nashville, down on Music Row, the country music capital of the world, in the home of the... Tennessee Titans. (Woof.)
Like the Rockies, Nashville has underwhelmed over the last decade, at least for real country music fans. So here's some REAL country to get you in the mood. Let's just hope what happened to Alan Jackson and George Strait's fiddles and steel guitars down on Music Row doesn't happen to your 2016 Colorado Rockies: