As the winter meetings begin today in San Diego, what can we expect from Rockies GM Jeff Bridich?
The Rockies are rarely the subject of the hottest hot stove rumors, even when they are potentially “listening” to offers for elite players like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Most of the stuff I read this weekend from national baseball writers mentioned CarGo and Tulo as an afterthought at the end of an article, if at all. The general consensus is that neither will be moved this week during the winter meetings. They aren’t worth nearly as much to the Rockies as they would be if they’d completed healthy seasons, and their salaries are high enough that other teams are unlikely to want to take them on when they haven’t proven they can stay on the field.
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As Hayden wrote yesterday, the best term to apply to the Rockies’ current offseason plan is “confusing,” largely due to the front office changes that have occurred. We don’t know what kind of GM Jeff Bridich will be. He has already made a few somewhat bold decisions, extending Michael Cuddyer a qualifying offer, declining Brett Anderson‘s option, and DFA’ing Juan Nicasio. While I found the Cuddyer offer confusing, I like that Bridich generally does not seem sentimental about his players. With Dan O’Dowd, I always got the sense that he didn’t want to trade anybody because then maybe he wouldn’t get a Christmas card from them. Or if he did trade them, he would bring them back, perhaps for the same reason. Bridich has not given us much information to work with yet, but I believe he is more willing to pull the trigger.
Thomas Harding, on the ground in San Diego, says that the Rockies are looking to move Wilin Rosario as well as shore up pitching in both the rotation and bullpen. I agree that those should be their primary priorities. This team cannot compete without stronger pitching, and Rosario has got to go. Hayden recently wrote that Rosario’s power from the right side makes him valuable, and the team did tender him a contract. While it’s true that Rosario can rake, he also showed a serious inability to make adjustments this year. Every team in the majors figured out what he would try to drive over the fence, and they threw it to him again and again and again. He struck out 70 times in 109 games and his OBP was a paltry .305. Rosario could be a good candidate for a bounce-back year, with the right coaching, but the fact remains that his defense is abysmal, which makes it hard for me to want to throw my lot in with him.
There are a number of big-name pitchers available this offseason, and rumors already swirl around names like Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields. The Rockies are never part of that conversation, because other teams have more money. It goes without saying that Bridich would have to offload a whole lot more than Rosario to afford any of those guys. But there are second- and third-tier pitchers up for grabs, like David Robertson, Chris Perez, and Justin Masterson. What if Bridich could find a way to deal Rosario and another piece like Drew Stubbs (who I don’t want to see traded, but would gladly give up for any of the aforementioned) and bring in a really quality pitcher or two? Whether he does or doesn’t will tell us a lot about what kind of GM he intends to be.