Starting pitching still on Rox list after Meetings

Colorado did address some needs with Motte, Qualls, Reynolds deals

Starting pitching still on Rox list after Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A restless Rockies fan base still must wait for the gift they really want -- a stalwart for the front of the pitching rotation. But the moves general manager Jeff Bridich made at the Winter Meetings, which concluded Thursday, address some other needs.

The signings of potential closer Jason Motte, who starred for the Cardinals before undergoing Tommy John right elbow surgery and regained form with the Cubs last season, and Chad Qualls, a veteran on a young Astros staff last year, solidified the bullpen. Right-handed-hitting first baseman Mark Reynolds, who reached his agreement Thursday, gave the Rockies potential for lineup balance or, when lefty-hitting Ben Paulsen starts, power off the bench.

But the Rockies didn't cross starting pitching off their shopping list. There was no deadline for doing so at the Winter Meetings. But days of dispatches about the D-backs signing Zack Greinke and trading with the Braves for Shelby Miller, the Giants signing Jeff Samardzija and the Dodgers replacing Greinke with Hisashi Iwakuma left Rockies faithful wondering what they'll get.

Winter Meetings highlights
Below were the biggest moves of the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
12/9: D-backs acquire RHP Shelby Miller from Braves for OF Ender Inciarte, RHP Aaron Blair, SS Dansby Swanson.
Mets acquire 2B Neil Walker from Pirates for LHP Jon Niese.
Astros to acquire RHP Ken Giles from Phillies for RHP Vincent Velasquez, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, others. Not official.
White Sox acquire IF Brett Lawrie from A's for two Minor Leaguers.
Mets to sign SS Asdrubal Cabrera to 2-year deal. Not official.
Mariners acquire 1B Adam Lind from Brewers for three Minor Leaguers.
12/8: D-backs sign 6-year deal with Zack Greinke.
Cubs sign 4-year deal with 2B Ben Zobrist.
Yankees acquire 2B Starlin Castro from Cubs for RHP Adam Warren, PTBNL.
Cubs sign 2-year deal with RHP John Lackey.
Cardinals acquire 2B Jedd Gyorko from Padres for OF Jon Jay.
12/7: Dodgers near 3-year deal with RHP Hisashi Iwakuma. Not official.
Mariners acquire LHP Wade Miley, RHP Jonathan Aro from Red Sox for RHP Carson Smith, LHP Roenis Elias.
Royals sign 2-year deal with RHP Chris Young.
Hot Stove Tracker | MLB Transactions

It appears clear the Rockies will have to give up either longtime star right fielder Carlos Gonzalez or one of their homegrown standouts, Charlie Blackmon or Corey Dickerson. There was little or no information circulating about the Rockies going the free-agent route, so a trade seems on the horizon.

Stay tuned. Gonzalez, especially, has been linked to a laundry list of teams -- the Orioles, Angels, Giants (who have talked to the Rockies about him in the past), Cubs and Cardinals. Other teams' pursuits of top free-agent outfielders Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes are factors in possible trading partners for the Rockies. The team also is exploring fits that don't cost the team Gonzalez.

Deals done
The signings of Motte, who is in line to begin the year as closer (with Adam Ottavino recovering from Tommy John surgery) and Qualls, a setup man, could prove sagacious -- if the Rockies' starting pitching gives them leads to protect. Manager Walt Weiss has wanted a right-handed bat that could change a game with a swing, and Reynolds represents that.

Rule 5 activity
Colorado selected righty Luis Perdomo from the Cardinals, then traded him to the Padres for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Goals accomplished
Motte and Qualls allow possible closers of the future Jairo Diaz and Scott Oberg experience earlier in games until they can slide into the prime roles. Reynolds, despite his history of high strikeouts, is a threat.

Unfinished business
Does CarGo have to go? Will the Rockies depart with Blackmon or Dickerson? Something is going to happen with the outfield, then the team will have to rearrange the daily lineup based on players received.

GM's bottom line
"Usually deals get done one of two ways. Either both sides are really happy, or both sides are really in pain. If it's equal happiness or equal pain, a deal has a chance to get done." -- Bridich

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.