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MLB rumors: Rockies' free agent targets focused on first base, bullpen

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Rockies news and links for Monday November 14, 2016.

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Baseball Prospectus | Liner Notes: The 2017 Free Agent 50 (Part 1)

Bryan Grosnick at Baseball Prospectus ranks the top 50 free agents with some analysis and predictions. They have hitters Yoenis Céspedes and Edwin Encarnación as the top two free agents, followed by relievers Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman.

And ranked at No. 16, they have Mark Trumbo, and along with it there's the suggestion that he would be a good fit with the Rockies. Trumbo is a flawed power hitter whose value is tempered when he plays the outfield, but he wouldn't have to do that with the Rockies. He also wouldn't be asked to carry the offense. Trumbo would be somebody to shy away from if the ask was to do so, but his power, on this Rockies team, would be a complement to an already strong lineup. "there's a match here that allows Trumbo to augment his strenghts as a hitter while playing the position that best fits his skill set and value," Grosnick writes, "if he signs with the Rockies, 50 homers are in play, and both teams might be happy with the fit."

Baseball Prospectus | Liner Notes: The 2017 Free Agent 50 (Part 2)

And as an alternative, the second part of the free agent list suggests that the Rockies might go for Brandon Moss to play first base. Moss is older and not as good, but again, whoever the Rockies get to play first base doesn't need to be the centerpiece of the offense. The problem with Moss, however, is that he's left-handed, and any addition at first base will probably share time with lefty Jordan Patterson, so it makes more sense for the Rockies to pursue a right-handed bat.

2016-17 Top 50 MLB Free Agents With Predictions - MLB Trade Rumors

But what about cost? While BP doesn't include predicted contracts, MTB Trade Rumors does. They predict that Trumbo will return to the Orioles on a four-year contract worth $60 million. But that contract is under the condition that he'll return to the Orioles, who slapped a qualifying offer on him. If the Rockies sign Trumbo, they'd give up the 11th pick in this year's amateur draft. They note that if Trumbo doesn't return to the Orioles and he has to wait for a suitor, the contract could be worth less in terms of years and dollars.

MLBTR has Brandon Moss as a much cheaper option at two years and $14 million. If the Rockies are serious about moving Ryan McMahon to first base, this type of short-term contract would make sense. McMahon will probably start the 2017 season in Double-A again, but he has a great chance to debut in Triple-A by the end of the season and assume a major-league role in late 2018.

They also predict that the Rockies will sign reliever Neftali Feliz to a three-year deal worth $18 million. This would be a move to shore up late inning relief, as Feliz would be unlikely to challenge Adam Ottavino for the closer role. And right now, he would be a safter choice for late-inning relief than Carlos Estevez, Jairo Díaz, and Miguel Castro.

Three Blockbuster Trades that Make Sense | Sports on Earth

In addition to free agency, the Rockies could also make moves by trading away some players. While it's unlikely to happen given what we know about where Jeff Bridich stands on the outfield situation, Michael Klopman of Sports on Earth offers up a possible trade involving the Rockies. He thinks that a trade between the Orioles and Rockies that would send Carlos González to Baltimore for reliever Brad Brach, first base prospect Trey Mancini, and a low-tier pitching prospect, makes sense.

Brach is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever who has found success in the past couple of seasons due to high strikeout rates. Mancini, also right-handed, is a 24-year-old first baseman. This trade would give the Rockies relief help and provide an option for first base. But it would leave the team in the undesirable position to give Gerardo Parra more playing time than necessary while waiting for Raimel Tapia to take over in the outfield. It's highly unlikely to happen, but it's still fun to think about.