The Colorado Rockies are in the hunt for a new first baseman this winter and currently have their sights set on free agents Mike Napoli and James Loney, among others, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
The search for a warm body at the cold corner is something of a novelty for the Rockies organization. The club hasn't needed new blood at the position since late 1997, when Todd Helton took over for Andres Galarraga and never looked back. Now that the 39-year-old Helton has decided to throw in the towel after 17 seasons, Colorado needs to shop on the open market, and Napoli and Loney seem like a pretty good place to start.
Napoli, 32, was his consistent, powerful self in his first full season out from behind the plate. The righty slugger put early injury concerns behind him and hit .259/.360/.482 with 23 home runs in 139 games for the Red Sox, playing a big part in Boston's World Series title. While his original three-year deal with the Sox was whittled down to a single-season contract because of his degenerative hip condition, it's likely that he'll lock down a multi-year offer this winter.
Loney, 29, does not have the power that Napoli possesses, but he still brings a lot of skills to the table. A first baseman of the J.T. Snow variety, Loney derives a good portion of his value from his glove. A Rays reclamation project in 2013, Loney had a minor renaissance at the plate, hitting .299/.348/.430 with 13 home runs in 158 games. The lanky lefty signed for just $2 million with Tampa, but is liable to get a nice raise this winter.
Colorado has also checked in on grabbing Justin Morneau off the open market and acquiring Ike Davis from the Mets, per Renck. Of the four players, only Napoli is tied to the compensation brought on by a qualifying offer, which would affect Colorado's second pick in the 2014 Draft.