Reports have varied regarding what type of offer the Red Sox have made to re-sign Mike Napoli, but in the meantime Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have expressed interest in the free agent first baseman.
Colorado’s first-round pick is protected, so signing Napoli would cost them a second-rounder instead after he turned down the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox.
Questions about his health turned a three-year deal into a one-year deal for Napoli last offseason, but he hit .259 with 23 homers and an .842 OPS in 139 games for the Red Sox and now looks to be in line for a big payday.
According to Renck the Rockies are also considering James Loney and Justin Morneau as potential fallback options at first base, so they’re casting a wide net to replace Todd Helton.
Colorado’s interest in free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz has been well-reported and now Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies are expected to make him a multi-year contract offer.
Renck writes that it’s unclear if the Rockies are willing to go beyond two years on a deal, but for a 35-year-old catcher coming off a season in which he was limited to just 92 games even a two-year deal is noteworthy.
Wilin Rosario has started 100 games at catcher for the Rockies in each of the past two seasons and his power has been impressive, but his defense has been shaky and apparently the Rockies think he can man other positions well enough. Shifting to first baseman as Todd Helton’s replacement makes the most obvious sense.
Cuban slugger Jose Abreu signed with the White Sox for six years and $68 million, and according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post the Rockies came up just short by bidding $63 million for the 26-year-old first baseman:
Rockies’ ownership gave clearance to spend the money on Abreu. It’s unlikely that the Rockies would reach $60 million on another free agent this winter. Abreu was unique because of his age — he’s 26 — and power.
Abreu would have stepped in as the long-term replacement for Todd Helton in Colorado. It’s a shame in the sense that I’m always curious to see what stud hitters can do when given a chance to play half their games at Coors Field, although Chicago’s home ballpark is a great place for power-hitting too.