Rockies focused on pitching at Winter Meetings

Rockies focused on pitching at Winter Meetings

Rockies focused on pitching at Winter Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pursuing starting pitching is the Rockies' top priority of the Winter Meetings, vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett said Monday.

The Rockies also are pursuing bullpen help and a corner bat and are willing to look at free agents or pursue trades. Dealing center fielder Dexter Fowler to the Astros last week also created a hole at the leadoff position, but Geivett said there are in-house candidates so it's not as high a priority.

"I'd say we're always looking to improve the offense but where we're at, the pitching is probably the most pressing need for us, always," Geivett said. "In this industry, the way things are going, it's definitely a higher priority for us right now to look at our pitching."

Sources have acknowledged that the Rockies talked to the Athletics late last week about left-handed starter Brett Anderson, who is due $8 million next season. It isn't clear if the teams will revisit talks because the health of Anderson's right foot, which cost him time last season, is a question. However, the interest in Anderson at his salary is an indication the Rockies are willing to spend.

The Rockies also have been interested in free agents Paul Maholm and Jason Hammel and have been linked to Bartolo Colon. Geivett didn't address any specific target but said the team could spend big for the right pitcher.

"That all plays out to the individual guys," Geivett said. "As we look to investments maybe beyond what it appears we can do, that's a subject that we'll certainly have [owner, chairman and CEO] Dick Monfort involved, and other people. Any time you have financial considerations involved, that's taken into consideration."

The Rockies' first four spots are set with Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood and Juan Nicasio, from whom Geivett expects a breakout year. While the club has every intention of bringing in an experienced starter through a trade or free agency, younger pitchers Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich and Jordan Lyles -- obtained in the trade with the Astros last week -- are competitors. All three have Minor League options.

Geivett said despite the high salaries some late-game relievers are receiving, he believes the Rockies will be able to add to the bullpen beyond their other investment -- closer LaTroy Hawkins for one year at $2.5 million.

"I think there's still a chance," Geivett said. "What truly is attainable, we'll see as these days develop here. We're open to trade as well as far as improving the bullpen."

Colorado has been linked to free-agent right-handers Jesse Crain and Jose Veras. They've also been linked with right-handed-hitting free agents Michael Morse, Corey Hart and Michael Young and left-handed-hitting Raul Ibanez.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.