It was just an idle Wednesday with a late-night West Coast game on the schedule. That meant a lot of killing time before actually getting to watch Rockies baseball, still about seven hours in the future. Maybe peruse Twitter a little. Maybe think about which shade of purple to wear this weekend.
But then, out of no where, this came along.
All-Star. Silver Slugger. Batting Champion. Leader. Rockie.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 4, 2018
We have agreed to terms with Charlie Blackmon on a six-year contract, including two player options, which could keep him with the club through the 2023 season. pic.twitter.com/OYq6ruJhQR
This wasn’t expected at all, but to say it wasn’t welcome would be to mischaracterize the Rockies fanbase dramatically. There will be plenty of time to breakdown the terms of the deal and what it means for the roster now and in the future. For now, here are a few thoughts arranged in no particular order.
The Rockies are in win-now mode
Teams don’t often give out long contract extensions to pending free agents unless they sincerely believe those pending free agents are crucial to their continued success. The fact that Blackmon is 31 years old and has displayed some Coorsian home-road splits may have caused other teams to balk at a nine-figure deal over six years.
But the Rockies aren’t worried about the end of that deal right now. They are coming off their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade and were facing the prospect of having their leadoff man and MVP candidate centerfielder walk away in free agency. Apparently that wasn’t a risk they were willing to take. The Rockies are built to win right now. By securing Blackmon for the next four to six years, they may be able to keep that window open just a little bit longer.
Charlie Blackmon was motivated to make a deal
When Charlie signed a one-year, $14 million contract to avoid arbitration in January, there was an inkling that it might be just the start. Did he see the slow free agent market this winter and decide he didn’t want to take his chances as an outfielder on the far side of 30? Does he truly love playing in Colorado as much as he says he does? Is he thinking this is a team that has the proper reinforcements to contend now and in the future? Probably.
This seems like a good deal for both sides
Taken together, this seems like a classic case of both sides wanting to get a deal done. Maybe that’s why, as Craig Calcaterra hinted, Blackmon switched to an agency that has been known for “getting good long term deals for players who want to stay with their current clubs (e.g. David Wright, Dustin Pedroia).” And the terms of the deal don’t seem to be so outrageous as to be considered an overpay or underpay—at least at first glance and without the benefit of hindsight.
The Monfort’s have been at the center of ire among Rockies fans for a while now. Give them—and GM Jeff Bridich—credit for getting this deal done.
The Rockies get to keep a fan favorite and leader around
If we took a poll of everyone’s favorite current Rockies player, there’s no doubt in my mind that Charlie Blackmon would finish at least in second place. Even as much as we all love watching Nolan Arenado do everything awesome, Charlie might even surpass him due to his eccentricities. There are plenty of people across the Rocky Mountain region celebrating this news because it means they get to see Charlie spray baseballs across the Coors Field outfield and rob home runs for the next half-decade plus, but also because they get to root for their beloved Chuck Nazty.
This is to say nothing about what Charlie means in the clubhouse. His leadership has been noted by many but played a crucial role for Jon Gray after last year’s Wild Card Game.
More extensions might be coming
With Charlie now inked to a long-term deal, it begs the question: Who is next? It’s no secret that this Rockies clubhouse is a pretty tight bunch. Arenado has, like Charlie, made comments about wanting to be in Denver for a long time. Next year is his last year of arbitration before he becomes a free agent. It’s difficult to underestimate what this deal says to Nolan. It very well could convince him to sign up for the long haul as well. But you can be sure that if/when that happens, it will come just as expectantly as this one.