NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rockies' unusual approach to the Winter Meetings gave new manager Walt Weiss what he might have needed most -- room to lead. Generally, teams send their front-office officials, scouts, Minor League officials and field staff to the annual event as part of a holiday shopping spree for free agents and to make trades. But the Rockies had general manager Dan O'Dowd and his professional scouts meet in Denver, and the Minor League officials came late to the event. The off-field staff in Nashville didn't go much deeper than senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett, vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt and assistant scouting director Danny Montgomery. Any discussion about moves that involved O'Dowd and the scouts was handled by conference call.
Therefore, most of the people in the Rockies' suite will be wearing uniforms this season. It gave Weiss plenty of time and room to organize his coaching staff. Only assistant pitching coach Bo McLaughlin, recovering and rehabbing from offseason knee surgery, was missing. That meant Geivett had a chance to see the leader the Rockies believe Weiss to be in action. "I saw the aspect of being particular about certain things he wanted done on the field," Geivett said. "When you have a first-year manager who hasn't managed at the professional level, it's good to know that there are things that he feels very strongly about and is very convinced about. "It could be doing things the right way. It could be something in a bunt defense, how he wanted the defense to play, as well as things offensively that he wanted to see." The Rockies were blown away by Weiss' vision during the interview process. Time will tell if the hire was the right one. Spring Training isn't until February, and then the proof will come during the season. But they head toward the season confident that what they saw in the interview is what they're going to be getting in the dugout. "It was a lot easier for them to do their job and having all the resources available in a more comfortable environment than 40 guys packed into a suite that's really not built for 40," Geivett said. Deals done: The Rockies made just one trade, acquiring righty reliever Wilton Lopez and a player to be named or cash from the Astros for righty starter Alex White and Minor League right-hander Alex Gillingham. They have a reported agreement to re-sign lefty Jeff Francis, although it is pending a physical and the Rockies aren't confirming the deal. The Rockies reached Minor League contract agreements with right-handed pitcher Jeff Manship, who was 3-2 with a 6.20 ERA with the Twins from 2009-12; catcher Gustavo Molina, who has appeared in 26 Major League games with the White Sox, Orioles, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees; first baseman Henry Wrigley, from the Rays; right-handed pitcher Justin Bour, from the Cubs; and utility man Hernan Iribarren, who played at Triple-A Colorado Springs last season. Rule 5 Draft: The Rockies used the third overall pick on left-hander Danny Rosenbaum, who had pitched as a starter in the Nationals' Minor League system but will compete for a bullpen job in Spring Training. Rockies right-hander Coty Woods was drafted by the Rangers. Goals accomplished: Lopez gives the Rockies an experienced, right-handed ground-ball pitcher who can work as a setup man for closer Rafael Betancourt or work in tandem with lefty Rex Brothers to close games when Betancourt is being rested. Francis brings experience and dependability to the rotation. At the Minor League level, player development director Jeff Bridich confirmed Thursday that former Rockies first-base coach Glenallen Hill will manage at Colorado Springs, and Dave Hajek will be hitting coach, but the Rockies are still looking to fill the pitching coach slot and other openings throughout the organization. Under director of pitching operations Mark Wiley will be pitching coordinator Doug Linton and assistant pitching director Bob Apodaca, who will focus on the lower levels; Mark Strittmatter will be roving catching coordinator; and Jim Johnson, the longtime roving hitting instructor, is no longer with the organization. Johnson's position has not been filled. Unfinished business: The Rockies still want a dependable starter, although acquiring one is difficult. With teams calling about center fielder Dexter Fowler, the Rockies will need that type of pitcher in return, but that's not all. They want a high-end talent who will have an impact, either immediately or in the near future. Geivett's bottom line: "When you pack up and come to these things, you want to go home with your bounty: 'We've got this, here's our treasure and everybody can see it.' That pushes people in to making deals that they shouldn't at times. For us and a lot of people, it's a little different. It's a whole winter. We play in April."
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.