When you’re a contending team like the Colorado Rockies, and you have the chance to keep a superstar outfielder for the next six years, you pounce on the opportunity. And if you’re Charlie Blackmon and you get offered a long-term deal worth over $100 million at age 31, you don’t think twice.
Wednesday afternoon, Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports reported that the Rockies and Blackmon agreed to a six-year extension worth $108 million and could potentially be worth as much as $116 million.
Blackmon has established himself as one of the best all-around outfielders and players in the majors. He has a knack for getting behind flyballs with ease, getting on base often, and provides a power-hitting presence at the plate. A career .305 hitter, and fresh off his second consecutive season of hitting over .320, as well as a career-high 37 home runs and 104 RBI’s, the 31-year-old has grown into a star.
Put that production together and a contract of $18 million a year is a steal for Colorado and allows them to breathe a sigh of relief. The outfielder was poised to hit what projects to be a stacked free agent class after this season; it’s one less thing the Rockies have hanging over their heads this season.Charlie Blackmon and the @Rockies agreed on a six-year contract extension this weekend. Here's why it's a win-win for the two parties.Click To Tweet
So considering, on paper, he’s worth more than $18 million a year, why would Blackmon settle considering it may be his final chance to cash in on a huge, multi-year deal? This offseason was one of the more controversial and bizarre periods baseball has ever seen. With many premier free agents remaining on the open market, at times, three months into the offseason, contracts were lower than expected.
For example, Cy Young Award winning righty Jake Arrieta inked just a three-year deal. Third baseman Mike Moustakas — who projected to be the best player available at his position — agreed to terms on a one-year, $6 million deal. Righty Lance Lynn (who posted a 3.38 ERA in his five-year tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals) signed just a one-year, $12 million deal with the Minnesota Twins. To top it off, only one free agent older than 30 signed a deal worth more than $100 million (Yu Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Chicago Cubs).
The remarkable silence, lowball offers, and discharging trends for seasoned veterans in free agency serves as a model for star players such as Blackmon that landing a groundbreaking deal, in terms of both money and years, is becoming a tad bit unrealistic.
There’s also the factor of being a mile above sea level and how much playing in Coors Field 81 times a year affects a player’s production at the plate – which may have potentially hurt Blackmon’s leverage in any contract negotiations he would’ve engaged in with other teams. So $18 million a year through 2023 may have been the best deal the outfielder was going to be able to do for himself. And, Blackmon putting up his tent in the Rocky Mountains allows Colorado to chase a title in the foreseeable future.
Besides Blackmon, the Rockies possess a number of high-octane bats. With Blackmon (who’s hitting .345 this season), Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Story, and Ian Desmond, among others, manager Bud Black has arguably the most dangerous lineup in the game at his disposal. And while it’s not a force to be reckoned with, their starting pitching is coming into its own.
With Jon Gray (who tossed seven shutout innings versus the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night) slowly evolving into a reliable top-of-the-rotation-arm, German Marquez coming into his own, and a number of intriguing minor-leaguers capable of bringing back a premier starter via trade (perhaps Chris Archer, Julio Teheran), the Rockies pitching staff appears to be improving. They also possess an intriguing bullpen. With the recently-signed Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee, the Rockies have a potent backend.
Some would argue that Blackmon should’ve won or been a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player Award last season; he put together a complete and captivating season. Regardless of what praise he’s worthy or in search of, the outfielder is a focal part of Colorado’s present and future. Having him in place for the next six and a half years enhances their odds at being a legitimate contender. And for Blackmon, he’ll cash in $18 million a year; it’s a win-win for both parties.