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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Rockies mailbag: Will Colorado chase down Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins?

Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies mailbag.

Ask a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies mailbag.

Since the Rockies want to avoid the free-agent market, why wouldn’t they trade? The Baltimore Orioles are on record to have available outfielder Cedric Mullins and pitcher John Means. These two players may cost some good minor-league prospects, but it will certainly strengthen the roster.
— DJ McKay, Westcliff

DJ, it’s a bit early to say that the Rockies “want to avoid free agency.” With the lockdown now in place, there will be no move of any kind until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. At that point, I fully expect the Rockies to sign some players and probably make quite a splash. we will see.

After failing to retain Trevor Story and John Gray, and the Rockies paying “only” $5.75 million of Nolan Arenado’s salary with the Cardinals in 2022, the Rockies should have some money to spend.

I also think we will see a trade or two. The player most likely to be sent off is fielder Raimel Tapia.

For Mullins to trade, the asking price is reportedly too high. I was wondering if the Rockies, with their relatively shallow form systems, are likely to be Orioles. Still, there’s no doubt that Mullins would get a resounding victory by the Rockies — or almost any other team. At this point, I haven’t heard anything about the Rockies being in a potential trade. Still, Mullins is intriguing.

According to the Baltimore Sun: After demotion all the way to Double-A Bowie in 2019 only to return to the majors in 2020, Mullins went from being a switch-hitter to hitting strictly from the left before the 2021 season and immediately found dividend. Focusing on one swing proved easy for him, and he was an All-Star while batting. 291 with .878 ops. His 30 home runs and 30 steals gave him the first 30–30 season in Orioles history.

Mullins also finished ninth in the American League MVP voting. Under the current CBA, he is also in control of the team for the next four seasons, so he does not qualify for free agency until 2026.

As for the mean, I believe ESPN’s Buster Olney was the first to mention a potential trade.

The Rockies may have the pieces to make that deal happen, but a lot depends on the Orioles’ asking price.

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