Rockies ready to deal at Winter Meetings

Rockies ready to deal at Winter Meetings

Rockies ready to deal at Winter Meetings
DENVER -- The Rockies entered the offseason with holes -- specifically starting pitching, second base and third base. Thus far, nothing has changed.

But the Rockies could have a different look in the next week-plus, with the annual Winter Meetings starting Monday in Dallas.

It's still early, but it seems the Rockies' best bet to meeting some of their needs is to barter, rather than buy. The team also could be creative in rearranging its catching situation.

According to media reports, the Rockies are shopping reliever Huston Street, feeling there could be a market for him driven by teams who do not land a closer via free agency. Street, supplanted as closer by Rafael Betancourt toward the end of the 2011 season, ranks as the Rockies player most likely to be dealt. Street has been linked to the Blue Jays and the Orioles, with the Denver Post having reported that the Rockies have asked the Orioles about starting pitchers Jeremy Guthrie and Mike Pelfrey.

Outfielder Seth Smith was mentioned prominently in trade talks regarding the Braves' Martin Prado, who could fill in at second base for the Rockies. Talks did not progress far during the General Managers Meetings earlier this month in Milwaukee, but Prado nonetheless remains a possibility.

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On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Rockies have offered catcher Chris Iannetta to the Angels, with the Rockies planning to go after free-agent catcher Ramon Hernandez, who has spent the last three years with the Reds. Scott Miller of CBS Sports reported that talks did not go far. However, a Major League source told MLB.com the Rockies are amenable to moving Iannetta and pursuing Hernandez, who could man the position until prospect Wilin Rosario is ready for full-time starting duty.

The Rockies were happy with Iannetta's performance during his final six weeks as starter, before the team took a long look at Rosario in September. The price for Iannetta could be high, such as pitching, or it could free up money to pursue pitching via free agency.

Iannetta is due $3.55 million next season. If traded, his $5 million option for 2013 is automatically voided.

The Rockies are known to be seeking two seasoned starters to augment a young rotation. The trade of infielder Ty Wigginton to the Phillies last week, for a player to be named, freed up $2 million (half of Wigginton's salary for next season).

Expect the Rockies to inquire about any young starter available in a trade. Right-handed free agent Roy Oswalt is the biggest name the Rockies are pursuing on the open market.

The Denver Post reported last week that third baseman Ian Stewart, who struggled mightily last season despite heavy expectations, could be dealt in the Rockies' effort to have more confidence at the position. The Rockies plan to tender the arbitration-eligible Stewart a contract offer, but that doesn't preclude a trade. Stewart, a former top Draft pick, displayed power early in his career but did not hit a home run in 2011 and spent much of the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Beyond Stewart, the Rockies have Chris Nelson, who is in the mix at second base; non-roster invitee Brandon Wood, who struggled with the Angels and Pirates last season; and Jordan Pacheco, who played first base and third base in a September promotion last season.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.