7/31/2014 9:39 P.M. ET
Rockies hold onto core at Trade Deadline
Amid speculation, Colorado keeps Tulo, CarGo with eye on 2015
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- The Rockies' inactivity at Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline was a wait-'til-next-year message.
The months between now and then will determine if the Rockies will back that by loading up for a run at the National League West in 2015 -- something demanded by a fan base whose patience has been tested by the 44-64 record, worst in the NL.
By not dealing left-handed pitchers Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson, and not actively shopping shortstop Troy Tulowitzki or outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (though some clubs expressed interest), the Rockies are gearing up for 2015.
Success will take not only better health than this year, but the right offseason moves. Starting and relief pitching, as well as depth in the event of injuries, are requirements.
But by not dumping contracts now, the Rockies showed that they believe they have the makings of a good club next season. Asked if he thought they had enough talent to win big in 2015, Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett offered no guarantees.
The Rockies' faith in their current mix puts them on the clock to produce a contender, though.
"I think you can characterize it that way, but I wouldn't say that is totally accurate. I think you are always trying to get better and always looking at deals to try to do that, but we are looking at 2015. We feel like we had a lot of unfortunate things happen to a very good team."
Unless conditions change, the Rockies appear to be leaning toward making a qualifying offer to De La Rosa and picking up Anderson's $12 million option.
Not even any of the smaller possible deals came to fruition this year. Contending teams expressed some interest in veteran closer LaTroy Hawkins, but the Rockies held him and could keep him for next year by picking up a $2.5 million team option. Inquiries from other clubs on right-handed-hitting outfielders Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes, and a rumored buy-low effort on lefty reliever Rex Brothers (inconsistent this year after a strong 2013) didn't produce much.
"We would entertain a deal as far as making us better in 2015," Geivett said. "Although we were active and had some talks, we really weren't moved to the point where we had anything that would significantly affect us next season.
"There was very little discussion on some of our main players. We really didn't feel like that was something that organizational we were going to do. As I said all along, we thought it was going to be relatively quiet."
Deals are still possible post-Deadline, but those involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the player clears waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let him go to the claiming team.
The lack of activity showed that the Rockies, a team always watching its payroll, don't feel crushed for money.
Tulowitzki is owed $133 million 2015-20. Gonzalez will receive $53 million 2015-17.
The Mets were the team most closely linked to Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. Gonzalez, however, hasn't been healthy all season, and Tulowitzki suffered a left hip flexor injury July 19 and is on the 15-day disabled list. Those factors might have lessened the interest on the part of other teams.
Geivett said communication has been open with the players.
"I personally talked to both [Tulowitzki and Gonzalez] probably a month ago, just in terms of normal conversations," Geivett said. "I talked to Tulo the other day, as well."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss is comfortable with bringing back the core of this year's team.
Anderson missed three months with a broken left index finger, righty Jhoulys Chacin was never right before a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out for the rest of the year, and Tyler Chatwood had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow earlier this month. Numerous injuries -- the worst being nagging hand injuries for Gonzalez, a broken middle finger for third baseman Nolan Arenado and a fractured right shoulder for outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer -- dismantled the core.
There are still areas of concern, but Weiss doesn't believe the Rockies needed to rebuild.
"I talked to people, opposing managers, people within the game," Weiss said. "They saw us early on and said: 'Hey man, you guys are good.' I said, 'Yeah, I think we are, too.'
"The toughest thing for us was the injuries to the pitching. You can cover position players for a while, even though we lost three All-Star-caliber position players early on. You can cover that for a while. But injuries to your pitching staff are really difficult to cover."
Weiss, however, also realizes that talk about how good a team was before injuries rings hollow when the Rockies are sitting in last place in the NL West.
"We haven't earned the benefit of the doubt, and I understand that," Weiss 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.