In a season where just about nothing has gone right for the Colorado Rockies, The Denver Post’s Mark Kizla has managed to blame the season on perhaps the one player who has remained consistently productive all season long.
In his most recent article, Kizla calls Charlie Blackmon‘s contract a “mistake” and makes the unusual statement that one reason the Rockies can’t win is “buried in his beard.” After these statements, Kizla doesn’t really explain them, instead he just rants that the Rockies’ roster is too “poorly constructed” to make the playoffs and that the team needs to get rid of Blackmon’s contract.
If Blackmon was performing below expectations, perhaps this would make some sense, but Blackmon has had one of the best seasons of his career. He’s hitting .320 with 21 HR and 62 RBI and a .960 OPS.
While Nolan Arenado (.245), David Dahl (.260), and Trevor Story (.246) have struggled in the two weeks following the All-Star Game, Blackmon is the one Rockies All-Star who has retained a respectable batting average (.270) since the break.
Kizla frantically calls on Jeff Bridich to trade the All-Star outfielder, claiming this is the “last, best chance” for the Rockies to move him, even though he also claims that Colorado won’t get anything in return for him and that such a trade could influence Arenado to take his opt-out in 2021.
Are there any benefits to a Blackmon trade? According to Kizla, it needs to happen, but the only “benefit” he lists is that the trade “would be a sober acknowledgement…that this roster needs a significant overhaul.” While trading Blackmon for an “I told you so” and triggering a rebuild might make sense to Kizla, it’s not going to happen.
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The Rockies have had two very bad stretches of baseball: from Opening Day to April 13 (2-13) and July 2 to the present (5-15). But those two slides aside, for the majority of the season (70 games), the Rockies were an incredible 42-28. For comparison, through the first 70 games of the season, the Dodgers were 47-23 and the Yankees were 43-27.
The point is, the Rockies are capable of playing with the game’s best teams for considerable stretches of the season and have put far too much work into a roster that is actually quite good to declare a fire sale now. And if anyone’s to blame for the Rockies’ struggles, its the pitching, which, with a few exceptions, has performed well-below their talent level.
It’s hard to see how trading Blackmon would fix that problem since Kizla states that the Rockies shouldn’t expect much in return for him in terms of prospects. Does he expect the front office to use the money from Blackmon’s contract to sign a free agent pitcher?
When has the team ever done that and seen it work? And what free agent pitcher would sign here after watching what’s happened in Denver in 2019?
Charlie Blackmon is not the reason the Rockies are losing. He has arguably been the team’s best player in 2019 and trading him won’t fix anything.
The Rockies need some work but they still have a strong young core to build around. Bridich has spent years constructing a roster that can contend and he’s not going to throw it all away just because some guy at a newspaper hit the panic button–and Rockies fans can be thankful for that.