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Did Charlie Blackmon get a bad deal from the Rockies?

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Rockies news and links for January 25, 2018

Charlie Blackmon and a look inside the backstabbing world of sports agents | NBC Sports
Charlie Blackmon received a hefty raise over the offseason in his final year of arbitration. The Rockies will pay Blackmon $14 million in 2018, the third-highest arbitration raise for a position player in Major League Baseball history, after Bryce Harper’s 2017 contract and Chris Davis’ 2014 contract. If Blackmon were a free agent, he would have signed a multi-year contract for a considerably higher annual value, but for an arbitration eligible player, this is a significant payday. Despite this, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports wrote a piece detailing how Blackmon should have gotten more. NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra analyzes Heyman’s article and goes into further detail about the “backstabbing world of sports agents.”

It was made public on November 27, 2017 that Blackmon was changing his representation, from Sports One Athlete Management to the ACES agency. It was a key time in Blackmon’s career to make such a decision, as he was facing his final trip through the arbitration process, and an ensuing trip to the free agent market after the 2018 season barring the Rockies signing him to an extension (for his part, Blackmon has expressed a desire to remain in Colorado). As Calcaterra points out, when agents court players, they show the positive results that they achieved, while simultaneously pointing out the faults of rival agents, such as lower raises in arbitration. Such negatives of rival agents can easily be visualized through a negative column by a baseball writer, which Calcaterra posits was the reason behind Heyman’s story- someone, perhaps from Blackmon’s previous agency, basically wanted to trash ACES for not getting Blackmon a larger contract- even though Blackmon’s contract was relatively unprecedented in the first place. As Calcaterra notes, the Heyman column doesn’t reveal any reasons that Blackmon deserved to have a higher salary for the 2018 season- only that ACES should have gotten him a bigger deal.

For my part, yes, I think Blackmon’s contract for the 2018 season is fine, and I’m sure Blackmon thinks so too. Heyman’s “arbitration expert” does not, but that’s probably because the competing world of sports agencies led this “expert” towards a desire to attract clients by speaking ill of ACES. The entire column by Calcaterra is well worth a full read.

Dahl… Desmond… Tapia… CarGo?! Colorado’s outfield situation is complicated | Mile High Sports
The Rockies have a surplus of outfielders heading into the 2018 season, with Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra, Raimel Tapia, and Mike Tauchman all representing possibilities. And then there’s the veteran Carlos Gonzalez, who remains a free agent. Casey Light of Mile High Sports says the debate about bringing back CarGo “will gain intensity every day that Gonzalez remains unsigned elsewhere.”

BSN Rockies Podcast: Rox stars using heartbreak of WC loss to inspire future greatness | BSN Rockies
In the latest BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman has audio from Blackmon and Nolan Arenado at the Rockies’ Winter Caravan, with both reflecting on how the loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2017 National League Wild Card Game had them feeling down. However, Blackmon and Arenado both express a sense of “hungriness” for the 2018 campaign, both stating that they expect big things from the club going forward.

Creasman also discusses the unfair limitations placed on Rockies hitters by park-adjusted statistics like wRC+ and OPS+, while pitching metrics like ERA+ do not credit the Rox enough. Buster Posey hit .336/.408/.549 in his 2012 MVP season with the San Francisco Giants. This was good for a 164 wRC+. Todd Helton hit .350/.449/.662 in 2001 for the Rockies. This resulted in a 163 wRC+. All three components of the slash are superior for Helton, which is captured better by utilizing a different measurement. Helton’s 2001 wOBA was .461, while Posey’s 2012 wOBA was .406. The run-scoring environment was different in 2001 than it was in 2012, and Helton did play half of his games at Coors Field, while Posey played at AT&T Park, but were those seasons roughly the same offensive output to slightly favoring Posey? I’m not inclined to believe that’s the case. Larry Walker was not elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, due in large part to members of the BBWAA discrediting him for playing his home games in Denver. Edgar Martinez received 70.4% of the vote to narrowly miss induction, while Walker appeared on 34.1% of ballots. Walker’s career wOBA is .412, compared to Martinez’s .405. Walker’s career fWAR is 68.7, while Martinez compiled 65.5 fWAR. Yet, wRC+ viewed Martinez as 147 wRC+ for his career, while Walker has a career wRC+ of 140. I think Martinez should be a Hall of Famer, but I think Walker has just as much, if not more of a case to be elected. The BBWAA certainly did not agree with me, as Martinez appeared on 153 more ballots than Walker. Unfortunately, we will likely see the trend of Rockies being shut out from induction continue as Helton is put on the ballot in 2019.

Rodgers ranked as No. 4 SS prospect | Rockies.com
Prospect ranking season continues! MLB Pipeline’s latest release was the shortstop rankings, in which our own Brendan Rodgers came in at #4. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding further profiles Rodgers, and details how, after a promotion to Double-A, Rodgers was sent back down to Class A in 2017, but not for the reason you might think. Rockies senior player development director Zach Wilson is quoted heavily in Harding’s column, with a focus on how 2017 was a year of gaining valuable experience for Rodgers.

Ever wonder how much money an independent league player makes? | NBC Sports

Bill Baer of NBC Sports does a good job of detailing just how inexcusable it is for a baseball player to not be making a living wage. While independent leagues don’t have as much money to go around as Major League Baseball teams, the salaries for minor leaguers in affiliated ball aren’t that much better than what Kaleb Earls made in 2017 with the Gateway Grizzlies. Baer details a very reasonable plan for Major League teams to use a portion of their revenues to pay minor league players a respectable wage- because all of them can, even the small market teams.