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Catching up on a busy week around the league and how it impacts the Rockies

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, December 5, 2022

Major League Baseball’s off-season has kicked into high gear in the past week with big splashes being made around the league and the 2023 Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, CA. The news and rumors are flying quickly, so let’s first take a moment to review what has transpired and finish with how it affects the Colorado Rockies.

Monday, November 28:

Thursday, December 1:

Friday, December 2:

Saturday, December 3:

Sunday, December 4:

Anything from the Rockies?

There has been very little smoke around Colorado’s fire. The only transaction so far has been a minor league contract with RHP Matt Koch. Koch has 40 major league games to his name and will now join the fifth organization of his career, likely as a depth option in Triple-A Albuquerque.

Stopgap starting pitching options are coming off the board

One of the biggest takeaways of the week has been the rush of modest starting pitching options flying off the shelves. While a big splash for Jacob deGrom was never a realistic option, the Rockies need to bolster their rotation depth but the free agent candidates for that assignment has thinned considerably in the past week.

With Clevinger, Gibson, Boyd and Eflin signing elsewhere, the pool of affordable arms on short-term contracts has dwindled. The front office did ink José Ureña to a one-year deal to begin the off-season, but if they plan on adding more from the open market they’ll need to move quickly before they’re gone.

One less suitor for C.J. Cron

The other avenue for the Rockies to acquire pitching is through the trade market. With Elehuris Montero and Michael Toglia waiting in the wings, moving C.J. Cron and his remaining $7.25 million season remains the most apparent chip the front office can cash-in.

But Cron is not the only 1B/DH option on the market. Some are already off the board as the New York Yankees re-upped with Anthony Rizzo and José Abreu was the answer for the defending champion Astros. The Pittsburgh Pirates were busy in this area, trading for Ji-Man Choi from the Rays before signing Carlos Santana for the 2023 season.

But Josh Bell, Trey Mancini, Yuli Gurriel, Brandon Belt and Miguel Sano are still available. Those are all options for teams seeking help in an area that Cron could fill, and most should command a modest cost. If the Rockies do plan to move Cron to improve other areas of the team and open a path for some younger players, they’ll have to pull the trigger before teams choose to fill their needs elsewhere.

Possibly a new target for CF

One of the biggest rumors of the week was Bryan Reynold’s request to be traded from the Pirates. For hot stove followers, it is not surprise as his name has been brought up frequently in recent seasons.

For a Rockies team searching to improve in center field, this represents a new high-end option for their void. Would it be worth pursuing, though? Reynolds is arbitration eligible and will not reach free agency until after the 2025 season. He owns a .281/.345/.461 slash line in four seasons while manning center field in 306 of his 493 games played.

That arguably elite production will likely require an elite return to acquire. The Rockies farm system has improved in recent seasons so they could be in a position to get Reynolds if they desired. But the Pirates may demand a blue-chip headliner like Ezequiel Tovar or Zac Veen in a deal, a cost the Rockies would likely be unwilling to pay.

Otherwise, business as usual

The team has expressed a desire to improve their pitching depth and center field, so relating these headlines to the Rockies is not entirely baseless. But we have very little information pointing to any potential moves from the team at this time.

What we do know is the team has one open spot on the 40-man after the roster turnover in November. That space has always seemed deliberately reserved for the Rule 5 draft, which is set to occur on Wednesday, December 7.

That date will likely mark the next point of activity for the Rockies, with a pitching prospect being the most obvious selection. There was no draft following the past two seasons, meaning the player pool is abundant.

The Rockies hold the eighth overall selection in the draft and it would be surprising to see them pass on that pick. Beyond that, there is little certainty on what the organization will do to improve the roster the rest of the off-season.

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Rockies head to winter meetings seeking pitching, center fielder | The Denver Post ($)

Patrick Saunders provides insight to GM Bill Schmidt’s intentions for the club at the Winter Meetings and the rest of the off-season. In their discussion, Schmidt reiterates the desire to improve the pitching depth and center field while Saunders notes the front office is informing agents the team does not intend to sign any long-term contracts that would block the path of their prospects.

Schmidt is also quoted as being open to trading position players to acquire pitching. Saunders links Cron as a possible candidate to move while also pointing out 2B Brendan Rodgers and 3B Ryan McMahon as players that could fetch a more significant return.

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