The Rockies need a replacement for Todd Helton, who is retiring after 17 seasons as Colorado’s first baseman. It sounds like their search is in full swing.
The Rockies have expressed interest in first basemen Mike Napoli, James Loney and Justin Morneau, according to The Denver Post. Colorado is reportedly considering a wide range of options in its effort to find Helton’s successor.
Napoli and the Red Sox have expressed a desire this offseason to continue their relationship. General manager Ben Cherington said recently that the Red Sox would “absolutely” like to have Napoli back in 2014, while the slugger has stated numerous times that he loves playing in Boston. Napoli is reportedly looking for a multiyear contract, though, and it’s unclear whether the Red Sox have offered such to this point.
The Red Sox extended a $14.1 million qualifying offer to Napoli, but he declined it in order to test free agency. It’s reasonable to think that the 32-year-old could land a multiyear deal, as he put together a solid season and didn’t show any signs of the hip condition that he was diagnosed with last winter. It looked last offseason like the Red Sox were going to sign Napoli to a three-year, $39 million contract, but he ultimately signed a one-year pact after being diagnosed with the hip ailment. An MRI taken recently revealed no deterioration in Napoli’s hips since last winter.
Napoli hit .259 with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs in 2013. He also exceeded defensive expectations in his first season as a full-time first baseman, and is considered by most to be the best free-agent first baseman available.
Loney, meanwhile, enjoyed a great rebound season with the Rays. The 29-year-old hit .299 with 13 home runs and 75 RBIs while also providing good glove work.
Morneau, who has a concussion history, was traded to the Pirates this season after spending parts of 11 seasons with the Twins. The 32-year-old hit a combined .259 with 17 home runs and 77 RBIs in 152 games split between the two destinations.