The Colorado Rockies enter a critical offseason this year. Following the rise to relevance with the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 2009, the Colorado Rockies are forced to look at the long-term futures of All-Star center fielder Charlie Blackmon and All-Star, Gold Glove-winning second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
Both players have been long-time franchise cornerstones, and in an offseason where they are both in their final years of arbitration eligibility, the franchise must make a serious decision – will it be Blackmon or LeMahieu that is offered a long-term contract extension?
Since they can not re-sign both long-term (not if they plan to sign Nolan Arenado to a monster deal), what do they do with the two of them?
While the Rockies organization has a somewhat barren farm system, currently ranked number 18 in all of MLB by one publication, they have several internal pieces in place, ready to take over a full-time Major League role if the Rockies were to let one, the other, or both walk as free agents.
So, today, we will be looking at a third option for Colorado in a six-part series, this comes in the form of potential trades – three for DJ LeMahieu and three for Charlie Blackmon.
Today, we will take a look at the first of three destinations for Charlie Blackmon.
Before we dive into the potential destinations, lets take a quick look at Charlie Blackmon’s overall value as a Major League player. According to baseball-reference.com, Chuck Nazty as slashed a career line of .305 / .359 / .497 with an OPS of .856. He has 882 hits, 482 runs, 154 doubles, 33 triples, 111 home runs, 355 runs batted in, 115 stolen bases, 199 walks, and 599 strikeouts in 3,177 plate appearance (2,886 registered at-bats).
Charlie did fight some injuries in the early years of his Major League Baseball career as he played only 151 games from 2011-2013. With the said, the late blooming “Chuck Nazty” has been been riding a four year annual improvement in his overall game.
Stating in 2014, when Blackmon made his first All-Star appearance after establishing career-highs in hits, runs, doubles, triples, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and walks. Those numbers have been broken every year since, and, in 2017, he encapsulated the overall performance improvements, with what many in baseball believed to be an MVP-type season.
Since 2014, Blackmon has stroked a .308 / .366 / .512 slash line that includes 737 hits, 128 doubles, 31 triples, 102 home runs, 316 runs batted in, 102 stolen bases, 185 walks, 445 strikeouts, and a flashy 120 OPS+. His WAR rating has also gradually increased from 2.1 in 2014, 2.4 in 2015 and 4.5 in 2016 to a staggering 6.0 in 2017.
What does all this improvement mean? There is no better time to trade Charlie Blackmon than right NOW, while he is at the PEAK of his performance value.
The great thing about it, there are three destinations who could use a bat like Charlie’s, let alone his veteran leadership, and continued performance. Those teams include the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Lets take a look at what the deals would look like, and who Colorado could get in return, starting with the Cardinals.