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Inbox: Who will Rockies acquire next?

Beat reporter Thomas Harding answers fans' questions
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

WASHINGTON -- The sense is the Rockies' activity leading up to -- and possibly beyond -- Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline isn't complete after Wednesday night's acquisition of righty reliever Pat Neshek from the Phillies. So let's talk Deadline in the Rockies Inbox.

@jared_lariviere: What are the chances of a package consisting of reliever and an upgrade of catcher?

WASHINGTON -- The sense is the Rockies' activity leading up to -- and possibly beyond -- Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline isn't complete after Wednesday night's acquisition of righty reliever Pat Neshek from the Phillies. So let's talk Deadline in the Rockies Inbox.

@jared_lariviere: What are the chances of a package consisting of reliever and an upgrade of catcher?

You have presented an intriguing idea. On one hand, a late-inning reliever -- especially one with club control -- and a veteran catcher in the last year of his contract (those are the types being discussed) are separate issues. But is there a deal where both needs can come in one package?

Video: Bud Black on Rockies acquiring Pat Neshek

It isn't clear whether communications with the Rangers have gone beyond "interest" when it comes to catcher Jonathan Lucroy, although some reports Thursday suggest they have. But reports also have the Rangers shopping righty reliever Jeremy Jeffress. But that looks like a package of players who are having rough years.

:: Submit a question to the Rockies Inbox ::

Lucroy has slumped to .245 -- 35 points below his career average -- but that matters less than his strength, which is his experience at pitch-calling and receiving in big games. Jeffress has a pitch mix that would seem to play at Coors Field, and he is arbitration-eligible for another year, but he is walking 4.3 batters per nine innings and is strictly a setup man. Ideally, the Rockies would like a closer.

The Tigers have lefty closer Justin Wilson, whose talents and contract status fit better, as well as veteran catcher Alex Avila. But it's not clear what packages the Tigers would offer the Rockies.

@ElliottShindel: What veteran presence at starting pitcher or catcher do you see available for the Rockies to go for? Haven't been "buyers" in a long time. So exciting.

@PaulMeyer20: Chances Rockies trade for either Lucroy or Rene Rivera?

I packaged these two questions together because they intrigue me. I could be wrong about this, but I don't see the Rockies giving up what it takes to receive starting pitching help. They want to protect their starter depth rather than deal multiple pitchers for one. As for Rivera, his name hasn't come up. His experience is intriguing, but his workload is more in line with a backup. Not sure how that works if the Rockies' testing of the catching market is designed to shift some of the mental and physical stress off second-year catcher Tony Wolters.

@Jhobbs2244: In my opinion the Rockies have 3 or four of their best 6 hitters in Triple-A. With the recent offensive struggles ... why not call them up?

I'm going to assume you are talking about corner infielder Ryan McMahon, who has come on as a power hitter at Double-A and now at Triple-A Albuquerque, and outfielders Raimel Tapia and David Dahl. I could see them all in the Majors when rosters expand to 40 in September -- if one or two of them don't go in Deadline deals.

But look at Tapia's experience. He came up earlier in the year on multiple occasions and struggled when he received sporadic playing time. The last time he was up, when he received regular action, he hit .356 with two homers, two triples and seven doubles. But when Gerardo Parra returned from the disabled list, Tapia was sent down. Defensively, he wasn't as proficient as with the bat, although with his speed, he will get there.

Calling up younger players now, with a 25-man roster, means you have to live with adjustment periods, especially defensively. Doing it in a pennant race -- and using them means you lose others -- is not the best time. And don't forget that Dahl is in essentially Spring Training mode because he missed so much time with a rib injury.

@mtromero: How much longer do the Rockies stick with Carlos Gonzalez, and what are their options with him (trade, DFA, phantom DL and rehab?)

There is no trade value, with an expensive contract in its final year, and any other move sticks you with salary. What you do is ride it out and get what he can give you, the way the Cubs did with Jason Heyward last season.

@heftylefty17: What sort of morale boost will Chad Bettis' return bring to the clubhouse? What's the difference between April to mid-June and current play?

Morale is fine, but the Rockies need Bettis to pitch like he did in the second half of last season, when he grew into a leader on and off the mound.

The short answer is inconsistency has set in with young pitching, and the offense that had some solid road trips has reverted to the struggles that have been part of the team's story for 25 seasons.

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.

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