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The unfortunately solid case for trading Charlie Blackmon

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Rockies news and links for Thursday, May 27, 2021

Frankly, I hate the fact that I’m writing this article just as much as you’ll (probably) hate reading it – I’ll do my best to make it as palatable as possible.

We’ve known for months that Trevor Story is probably on his way out at some point this season – although you never really know with this organization – and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think it would be in the team’s best interest to get something in return for Blackmon as well.

After an abysmal April, Chuck Nazty has started to right the ship in May, and his track record suggests he’ll keep moving in the right direction as we make our way into the summer months. When that happens, the Rockies would be making the best move for the organization, as well as for Blackmon himself.

Assuming he does start to perform at the plate the way he has for years in Denver, the Rockies could net a solid return for Blackmon strictly from a player/prospect perspective. He won’t bring in the same haul that Story or Jon Gray might, but he’s a reliable hitter with two years on his current contract after the end of the 2021 season. For a young team making a playoff push – the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians jump to mind – Blackmon could be a vital veteran presence down the stretch.

While the Milwaukee Brewers or Miami Marlins (thanks to the logjam in the NL East) could also use someone like Blackmon in their lineup, the suspect play he provides in right field that we’ve grown accustomed to means he’d be better suited to an American League team where he can slide into a designated hitter role.

The $21 million Blackmon is set to receive this season and in 2022 would be the highest on the White Sox or the Indians, but depth is vital in postseason and baseball and probably worth the price. Seeing how the Rockies took on some salary in the Nolan Arenado deal, it’s not out of the question that they would do so again for Blackmon.

For years, players and staff have raved about everything Blackmon brings to the clubhouse on top of his contributions at the plate. While losing another face of the franchise would be difficult for the Rockies and the fanbase, the team needs to continue stockpiling younger players and prospects for the future.

The situation in Colorado reminds me of that of the Philadelphia Phillies in the early 2010s. The team was coming off an incredibly successful stretch that resulted in a World Series ring and a World Series appearance the following year. While the Rockies never reached those heights, the back-to-back wild card appearances serve as equals for argument’s sake here. They then gave big contracts to that core group of players, despite their advanced ages, and spent a few years treading water without committing to a full rebuild. Even GM Ruben Amaro Jr. eventually admitted that they should have started the process earlier. The Phillies haven’t made the playoffs in a decade at this point, and their blueprint is one the Rockies should desperately try to avoid.

The Rockies will be getting rid of Trevor Story in the semi-near future and should do the same with Blackmon. Giving Chuck a chance to chase a World Series title with a contender this year would benefit both him and the organization. As I continue to prep myself for the difficult days ahead for the Rockies, I’m reminding myself that a Charlie Blackmon trade shouldn’t be out of the question either.

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All good signs from Freeland in 2021 debut | MLB.com

He may not have gotten the national headlines for his return like Jacob deGrom, but Kyle Freeland more than held his own against the two-time Cy Young winner in his first trip to the mound in 2021. Freeland gave up just four hits and one run in four innings to go along with five strikeouts. He did walk three Mets hitters, but Freeland gave the Rockies everything they could have asked for in his season debut. If he continues to pitch the way he did Tuesday night, Freeland will be another weapon in the team’s starting rotation which has been a bright spot this season.

Springer, Story donate $150k to help make youth baseball more accessible | Sportsnet

It’s always great to see guys who are fortunate enough to play baseball for a living giving back, and that’s exactly what Trevor Story and George Springer of the Toronto Blue Jays did exactly that yesterday. The two announced that they would be giving $150k to the Perfect Game Cares Foundation, specifically their “Grow the Game” fund.

The money in the “Grow the Game” fund goes explicitly towards ensuring that cost doesn’t prevent anyone from participating in local youth baseball and softball. Both Springer and Story were a part of Perfect Game programs during their youth baseball careers.

George Springer spoke on his experience as a Black baseball player in a statement. “As a Black baseball player myself, one of my goals is to make the sport more accessible to athletes of colour,” with Trevor Story echoing a similar message of support for Black ballplayers. “It’s extremely important to break down the barriers that have kept Black and underprivileged kids from pursuing a career in baseball.”

The Perfect Game foundation is matching Springer and Story’s contribution and bringing the total to $300,000.

On the farm

Double-A: Portland Sea Dogs 5, Hartford Yard Goats 1

The Hartford Yard Goats were prevented the chance to mount a comeback when they’re Wednesday night game was called after the fifth inning due to rain. In the five innings they did get to finish, they only managed one run on four hits, while the Portland Sea Dogs pushed across five, powered by a Johan Mieses three-run homer.

High-A: Spokane Indians 7, Eugene Emeralds 1

A big night from Jack Blomgren, serving as the team’s DH, helped the Spokane Indians to a convincing win over the Eugene Emeralds. Blomgren collected three hits, falling a home run shy of the cycle, the Indians put up runs in six of nine innings, and the bullpen tossed four scoreless innings to help the team cruise to victory.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 5, Inland Empire 66ers 4

The Fresno Grizzlies pushed two runs across in the opening frame and rode that momentum to a 5-4 win over the Inland Empire 66ers to bring their season record up to 13-7. The Rockies’ most coveted prospect Zac Veen had a pair of hits and scored a run in the win. Third baseman Julio Carreras knocked in a pair on a two-run single to double his RBI total for the year.

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