DENVER -- The Rockies' search for pitching goes deeper than offering star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez to potential takers, although he remains prime bait.
Center fielder Charlie Blackmon, with three years of club control of his contract, and Corey Dickerson, who has four years of club control, continue to come up in talks with teams -- as does Gonzalez, who is owed $37 million in salary over the next two years. And according to a report Thursday, the Rockies may be able to use prospect depth in a deal.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal first reported, citing sources, that the Rockies have talked to the Rays, who have multiple pitchers who could be available -- lefty Matt Moore, prized righty Jake Odorizzi and fellow righties Drew Smyly and Alex Cobb.
A source told MLB.com that Tampa Bay had, in fact, emerged as "a sleeper" in discussions for dealing with Colorado, with only Gonzalez not in play because of his salary. FOX Sports reported that the Rays may be in the market for an outfield prospect, with former No. 1 Draft pick David Dahl and hitting prospect Raimel Tapia at the top of the Rockies' list of future outfielders.
All four aforementioned Rays pitchers would be attractive to the Rockies in various ways. Odorizzi is especially attractive, although the Dodgers -- who according to reports saw a deal with former Mariners righty Hisashi Iwakuma fall apart over results of a physical -- could be trying to snap up Odorizzi, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. A three-team deal with the Reds and White Sox on Wednesday gave the Dodgers a cache of prospects from which to deal.
Meanwhile, the Royals continue to be a possibility, with their depth of pitching prospects. All three Rockies outfielders have been mentioned in discussions between the teams. The Nationals, who have had on and off talks with the Rockies, also could be a strong candidate for Gonzalez, since they are looking for left-handed protection for Bryce Harper. Last season, Harper and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado led the National League with 42 homers apiece, and Gonzalez finished third with 40.
Before they signed Jason Heyward for eight years and $184 million, the Cubs were among the teams most interested in Blackmon. But the possibility of a deal still exists, since the Cubs have not set in stone that Heyward will play center field.
But it's not as if the interest in Blackmon and Dickerson means teams aren't pursuing Gonzalez. The Royals, with near-Major League ready pitching depth, remain in play for all three outfielders. In past years, Gonzalez's salary has been an issue. But, coming off a World Series title and seeing Gonzalez's short contract length (as opposed to the lengthy deal it would take to sign a free agent), the Rockies see him as worth discussing.
Recent statements from Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak suggesting the team will fill outfield holes with its depth, rather than free agency or trade, indicate St. Louis may be off Gonzalez. The Orioles, with the need for a left-handed bat and some money to spend, also remain a possible trading partner. However, both teams, for various reasons, seek pitching depth.