DENVER -- The Rockies' top two offseason priorities have been addressed, at least in part. They signed catcher Chris Iannetta last week, and general manager Jeff Bridich will return Thursday from the MLB Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with agreements with righty setup man Bryan Shaw and lefty
DENVER -- The Rockies' top two offseason priorities have been addressed, at least in part. They signed catcher Chris Iannetta last week, and general manager Jeff Bridich will return Thursday from the MLB Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with agreements with righty setup man Bryan Shaw and lefty setup man Jake McGee.
While negotiations to retain 2017 closer Greg Holland were not as far along as originally reported, the Rockies and Holland's agent, Scott Boras, are talking. Bridich said Thursday morning that there was "nothing new" from where the sides were Friday.
The Iannetta signing and the bullpen moves, completed and pending, offer support for a young rotation. Iannetta's leadership and pitch calling are strengths, and the Rockies need a strong back end of the bullpen to hold leads. The bullpen keyed a postseason run last season.
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Holland, with 41 saves last season, is a key. The Rockies also have had talks with free agent Wade Davis, who handled the ninth inning for the Cubs last season and was Holland's teammate with the Royals a few years back. Completing a trade for a closer (or anyone else, for that matter) has proven tough, partly because the Rockies simply don't want to give up starting-pitching depth that Bridich has built during his time as GM.
If the Rockies go with Holland or Davis, it means an expensive multiyear contract that could influence how they address their other need -- a run-producing corner bat.
The Rockies have talked to free agent Carlos Santana, who showed power, on-base ability and Gold Glove defense at first base for the Indians. However, the bullpen expenditures could mean less money to go after Santana. The Rockies also are looking at re-signing Mark Reynolds, who played the position the last two years with solid defense and power. The Rockies haven't negotiated with free-agent right fielder Carlos Gonzalez about a reunion, but that could be an option.
If the Rockies don't go big in free agency, or can't work a trade for an established player, it could mean more opportunities for young players. Ryan McMahon had a standout season at Double-A and Triple-A last season, and after being drafted as a third baseman has turned into a credible first baseman. Also, speedy Raimel Tapia had his moments in the Majors last season, and David Dahl had a standout debut in 2016 but lost '17 to a troublesome rib injury.
The Rockies lost hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Julian Fernandez to the Giants with the second pick in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. In the Triple-A phase, the Rockies selected lefty Mitch Horacek from the Orioles. Horacek, who pitched at Dartmouth, is a product of Thunder Ridge High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo. He will compete for a bullpen job.
GM's bottom line
"There were a lot of things that, whether they were things that got completed or about to be completed or inroads made, I would say, yeah, for us it was a good week. There's still more to do and there's still more that we're contemplating, but I think we're happy with how we spent our time and where we spent our time." -- Bridich
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.