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'Happy with core,' Rox stand pat at Deadline

'Happy with core,' Rox stand pat at Deadline

'Happy with core,' Rox stand pat at Deadline

ATLANTA -- Trapped between the extremes that lead teams to make major moves at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Rockies didn't make any deals on Wednesday.

"We're painfully right in the middle," said Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett. "We're happy with our core group of players, excited about some of the things we've seen on the mound and knowing that we're healthy as a group of position players, we're happy. And some of the younger guys are settling in. When you look at all that, we're certainly not in a position to sell.

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"At the same point, we can't legitimately say right now we're a probable playoff team. That's the next level for us to get to. Being in a situation where you're mortgaging your future to potentially get into the playoffs is not the most prudent course of action."

Teams can still make deals, but must expose players to waivers first. If a deal occurs beyond the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the player must be on his new club by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason roster.

Had the Rockies been in better position than 51-57 -- 7 1/2 games behind the National League West-leading Dodgers -- they could have justified attempting to acquire bullpen help. But they weren't going to turn seller and trade veteran outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer or starting left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa.

Instead, the Rockies held steady, hoping Cuddyer and De La Rosa could be part of a dramatic late-season playoff run or at least be part of next season's club. De La Rosa's contract has an $11 million club option to 2014. Cuddyer is due $10.5 million next year, the final year of a three-year, $32.5 million deal, at age 35.

With veteran first baseman Todd Helton expected to retire at season's end, the Rockies are expected to go for a power bat at either first base or in the outfield in free agency or the offseason trade market.

Reports were that the Indians and Red Sox had inquired about left-hander Josh Outman, but nothing came of it.

With starting pitching at a premium, the Rockies might have received multiple young players for De La Rosa. But the difficulty the Rockies have had developing starting pitching is a factor in the club not taking offers for him now and most likely bringing him back for next season. The Rockies are in better shape than expected, with De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood pitching well, as well as Juan Nicasio having justified the Rockies' hopes for him in three of his last four starts.

"After all the things that went wrong last season [when pitching injuries were a factor in a 64-98 finish], the pieces are coming together with the emergence of some of the younger guys," Geivett said.

De La Rosa (10-5, 3.21 ERA) was happy with not having to pack.

"You get nervous when you see your name out there, but hopefully I will be here for many more years," De La Rosa said.

De La Rosa is a rare pitcher who found his big league footing pitching his home games at Coors Field, after not being able to gain traction with the Brewers and Royals, as well as pitching in the D-backs and Red Sox chains and in Mexico.

"I learned how to pitch there, I've pitched in a lot of games there, and I love pitching there," De La Rosa said. "I always tell people I love pitching there. It makes me be more focused. It's a challenge, and I like those things."

Outman (2-0, 4.42 ERA), who attracted interest as a late-game reliever or left-handed specialist, said he followed reports on the web. He didn't move to a team at the top of the standings, but he hopes the Rockies find their way there.

"There's no reason this team right now can't get hot, go on a nice winning streak and be right back in the mix," Outman said.

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.

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