Creative options available to Rox at Meetings

December 10th, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- This week's Winter Meetings will challenge the Rockies and general manager Jeff Bridich to find ways to boost their offense while also maximizing young players who can become stars.
The Rockies have qualified for the postseason the last two years because of pitching. But with a better offense, they may have overcome the Dodgers' six-year stranglehold on the National League West in 2018. Instead, they lost a Game 163 tiebreaker at Dodger Stadium and, after defeating the Cubs in the NL Wild Card Game, bowed to the Brewers in a three-game sweep in the NL Division Series.
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The Rockies, who have the flexibility of moving from first base to left field, figure to be in the mix should the Mariners trade power-hitting first baseman , who was recently obtained from the Phillies. Other first basemen identified as possibly available are the Blue Jays' and the Giants' , although those clubs could be tough matches because they are seeking starting pitching -- something the Rockies would rather hoard than deal.
The Denver Post also reported Sunday that Blue Jays center fielder could emerge as a Rockies trade target. Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon, 32, headed into the second year of a six-year, $108 million deal, has said he would be open to moving to a corner-outfield position at some point, but as of the early offseason, the Rockies had not discussed the idea with him.
Rockies look to bolster offense at Meetings
The Rockies could be creative with free-agent options.
Left-handed-hitting outfielder , coming off consecutive All-Star seasons with the Indians, is a practitioner of the type of patient and contact-heavy at-bats that the Rockies lack. Brantley, who will turn 31 on May 15, over the last two seasons has a 117 OPS+ and chased only 12.1 percent of pitches out of the zone -- sixth-lowest in the Majors, according to Inside Edge. In much the same way Desmond did before signing his five-year, $70 million contract going into 2017, Brantley reportedly has expressed a willingness to add first base to his profile.
Former D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock, 31, also has tools that could fit, but USA Today reported an asking price of five years and $80 million, which would be difficult for the Rockies to meet. Versatile switch-hitter , who will turn 30 on March 27, and Josh Harrison, 31, may fit the budget, and they can play in the infield and outfield.
While the Rockies want to boost their offense, they have seen players developed within their system blossom when they haven't been blocked by veterans. Left-handed-hitting had a strong finish to 2018 and figures to be a key cog in 2019. No matter whom the Rockies obtain, infielders and figure to be fed increased playing time. Infielder Brendan Rodgers -- ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Rockies' No. 1 prospect -- could be knocking at the door in 2019.
Of course, all money discussions are against the backdrop of third baseman headed into his last year of club control with an attempt to negotiate a multiyear deal expected.
In addition to improving the offense, the Rockies will have to see how their coaching staff falls into place. Former first-base coach Tony Diaz took the third-base coaching job with the Twins, and hitting coach Duane Espy was not retained. Additionally, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday that bench coach Mike Redmond is a candidate to become Orioles manager.