The Rockies are casting a wide net in their search for a first baseman, as GM Jeff Bridich said the team is considering a large array of options, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes. The list includes such expensive free agents as Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo to more affordable open-market names like Chris Carter or Mitch Moreland.
Intriguingly, Harding also reports that the Rockies have been in contact with the White Sox about a possible trade for Jose Abreu. Talks haven’t advanced beyond the preliminary stage, and sources tell Harding that the Sox want multiple prospects from Colorado in exchange for the Cuban slugger.
This is the first concrete link between Encarnacion and Colorado this winter, though since the longtime Blue Jays slugger had been reportedly been contacted by at least a couple of NL teams interested in him as a full-time first baseman, the Rockies were a logical candidate since they’re one of the few National League teams with a first base vacancy. Colorado’s interest in Trumbo was initially reported over the weekend.
Signing Encarnacion or Trumbo would be an expensive endeavor for the Rockies, and either would cost the club the 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft, as both Encarnacion and Trumbo rejected qualifying offers. Carter and Moreland would cost much less, likely just one-year contracts. While neither of that duo carries Encarnacion or even Trumbo’s track record, it could be argued that Carter or Moreland could at least come close to replicating what the two higher-tier free agents could produce in Coors Field but at a fraction of the price and without any cost of a draft pick.
As Harding notes, the Rockies have shown past interest in both Trumbo and Abreu. Dealing for the latter would be an interesting middle ground between the free agent choices, though it would come at a cost to the Rockies in both minor league talent and money. Abreu recently opted into arbitration eligibility, so while Colorado would have him under control for three more years, the first baseman would come with a significant price tag.
Abreu has delivered very good numbers in his first three MLB seasons, delivering a .299/.360/.515 slash line and 91 homers over 1985 big league plate appearances. His last two years weren’t as impressive as his breakout Rookie Of The Year campaign in 2014, however, and Abreu has experienced declines in his home run and hard-hit ball rates.
The Rockies are also known to still be considering a reunion with Mark Reynolds. Since the team is being so comprehensive in its search, Harding figures that names like Mike Napoli, Adam Lind, Logan Morrison and perhaps any available first basemen are also under consideration.