Sorting through the rumors
national harbor, md. » ockies general manager Jeff Bridich sat in his hotel room here Wednesday evening as the baseball world swirled in the lobby nine floors below.
It’s not often the Rockies make the rumor mill spin at 5,000 RPMs, but that’s exactly what they did at the winter meetings. First came surprising news that they had agreed to terms with shortstop-turned-outfielder Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million.
Then came the flood of rumors.
The theory is that Desmond, who was brought in to fill the hole at first base, was just the
Rfirst domino to fall and that other moves were sure to follow.
For instance, there were multiple reports that the Rockies were deep into talks with St. Louis about a trade for center fielder Charlie Blackmon in exchange for pitching and perhaps first baseman Matt Adams.
The Rockies, however, are asking a lot in return for Blackmon, who’s coming off a career year when he hit .324 with 29 homers and a .381 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot.
The second part of the theory is if the Rockies trade Blackmon (or Carlos Gonzalez), the Rockies might move Desmond to the outfield, where he played last season for Texas.
Fox Sports’ national baseball writer Ken Rosenthal, a man with his finger on the big-league pulse at these meetings, even tweeted that the Rockies might not be done with their pursuit of free-agent slugger Mark Trumbo as their first baseman.
The problem with all of the rumors is that I’ve been told by reliable sources that the Rockies are intent on making Desmond their first baseman. They like his athleticism and think he can thrive at Coors Field.
Despite the breaking news and chatter throughout the winter meetings, Bridich would not confirm the Desmond deal, but I have no doubt it will become official relatively soon.
When Bridich was asked if the wheels were now in motion for more moves, he replied: “Our goals are still the same, we came here to the winter meeting with priorities for first base and the bullpen, and those priorities are still the same — which means we are still very active.
“It’s tough to gauge what will happen over the next day and what this situation will lead to once the meetings are done.”
Asked specifically about the rumors about Blackmon, he replied: “My feelings haven’t changed about Charlie Blackmon one bit. He’s a very popular player for good reason. There have been (trade) questions about him. There have been increased questions about him since the (Desmond) rumors came out this afternoon. It’s no surprise because of the type of player and person that he is.”
Then Bridich said something that made me think that Rockies would be open to moving Blackmon — for the right price — as they did with Troy Tulowitzki in late July 2015.
“Certainly, we have not had any intention of trading this player (Blackmon) for all those good reasons,” he said, then paused before adding, “As I’ve said before, we’re just going to keep our ears open and eyes open. That’s just part of the business.”
My bottom line: I think Desmond will be Colorado’s primary first baseman in 2017, and I would not be shocked to see Blackmon traded if the Rockies get quality pitching in return.