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The sputtering free agent market continues to affect the Rockies

Rockies news and links for Monday January 11, 2016.

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Will Rockies trade Carlos Gonzalez? |

Thomas Harding aggregates some of his Twitter Q & A sessions here. The first and most oft-asked question is whether or not the Rockies will trade Carlos González this offseason. Harding notes that prior to the new year, he was confident that the Rockies would trade CarGo away. He still thinks that will be the case, but he's "less than certain," which is where most of us are at, in general. It's also starting to get notable that there's not a lot of offseason left.

Regarding some of the teams that have been linked to not only the Rockies and CarGo, but Blackmon and Dickerson, Harding mentions the Rays as a potential partner that might be looking for an immediate outfield upgrade. He mentions left-handed prospect Blake Snell as a Rockies' target, though I think it might take more than any one of the Rox' outfielders to get him.

Harding also tackles what the Rockies might do with Eddie Butler, the timeline regarding José Reyes's league and team discipline, and where he sees Tyler Chatwood beginning 2016.

Cafardo's Latest: Ramirez, Upton, Gallardo, Chen, Ozuna - MLB Trade Rumors

MLB Trade Rumors provides a synopsis of Nick Cafardo's latest mishmash of baseball news and thoughts. Pertinent for the Rockies, Cafardo speculates that Dexter Fowler might be a bargain free agent outfielder, and that the Rockies make sense as a partner if they make a trade or two.

A reunion with the Rockies is highly unlikely. The speculation, however, is a reminder that Fowler is another outfield "domino" that can shape the Rockies' offseason in a couple of ways. On the one hand, a Fowler signing might make cause a team in need of an outfielder to make a trade offer for one of the team's three outfielders. On the other hand, a Fowler signing would also mean that another team has filled an outfield need via free agency without having to give up any controllable players. It's unclear what Jeff Bridich's non-action is doing, but it does seem like it involves a bit of gambling.

Predicting where Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, Dexter Fowler end up - SweetSpot- ESPN

Meanwhile, David Schoenfield predicts the landing spots of the major outfield free agents. He thinks that Yoenis Cespedes will return to the Tigers, Justin Upton will sign with the Rangers, and first baseman Chris Davis will return to the Orioles. Regarding the free agents a tier below those three, Schoenfield finds a match for Fowler with the Chicago White Sox, and he believes Austin Jackson makes sense with the Nationals.

If it all shakes out the way Schoenfield predicts, that would leave the Rockies with scant trade partners. The Angels and the Cardinals would still be in need of outfield help, but if either of those teams determine that the Rockies have lost most of their suitors and feel they need to make a trade, the result could be an unbalanced deal that won't be well-received among Rockies fans.

Baseball Prospectus | Rubbing Mud: The Significance of Three Unsigned Stars (subscription)

Finally, Matthew Trueblood of Baseball Prospectus looks at the big picture of unsigned free agents. Namely, most of them are not "dominos" waiting to fall, but players under the thumb of a qualifying offer "system [that] almost creates an implicit, no-liability collusion" that suppresses free agent market value.

While the Rockies are on the outside looking in on this matter, it does appear that the sputtering position player market is having an effect on the team's 2016 roster. Trueblood concludes with a look forward to the expiration of the current CBA. When the Player's Association and MLB come together for the next round of negotiations, the current qualifying offer system simply cannot remain in place unchanged.