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What’s next for Charlie Blackmon?

Colorado Rockies news and links for Thursday, September 29th, 2022

On Wednesday evening before their game against the San Francisco Giants, the Colorado Rockies announced that shortstop José Iglesias was returning to the lineup from the IL. The corresponding roster move? Outfielder and DH Charlie Blackmon was heading to the IL himself. He had torn his meniscus earlier in the week and now his season is over prematurely. While his teammates play seven more games away from home to round out their losing 2022 campaign, Blackmon has surgery in his near future.

The Cleveland Clinic states that recovery from meniscus surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to three months and Blackmon has access to all the medical resources afforded to a Major League Baseball player. He’ll be back for spring training in March when he—as he’s expected to—exercises his player option for the 2023 season.

We’ll discuss it in more detail when we get to our 2022 edition of “Ranking the Rockies,” but his age 35-36 season was a mixed one for Blackmon. His .264 batting average and .314 on-base percentage are his worst marks since his 2011 rookie season, but his 78 RsBI are in line with the results from his last five seasons. His 16 home runs are low, but a step up from the 13 he had last year. Blackmon also had his most stolen bases (4) since 2018 and most triples (6) since 2019. The elder statesman of the team still has some spring in his step, helped by decreased playing time in the outfield with the addition of the universal designated hitter.

If Charlie Blackmon retired at the end of this season, he no doubt goes down as one of the Rockies’ all-time greats. In his many games played, plate appearances, and at-bats—the most of any Rockies player not named Todd Helton—Blackmon ranks highly in many offensive categories:

  • 7th best career rWAR for position players at 19.3
  • 5th best offensive WAR at 26.7
  • 10th best career batting average at .297
  • 3rd most career runs scored at 880 (behind Larry Walker’s 892)
  • 2nd most career hits at 1590
  • 2nd most career total bases at 2613
  • 3rd most career doubles at 286 (behind Larry Walker’s 297)
  • 1st most career triples at 58
  • 6th most career home runs at 207 (behind Carlos González’ 227)
  • 7th most career RsBI at 709 (behind Vinny Castilla’s 745)
  • 5th most career walks at 403 (behind Carlos González’ 417)
  • 2nd most career stolen bases at 138
  • 2nd most career singles at 1039
  • 3rd most career extra base hits at 551 (behind Larry Walker’s 599)

...But Blackmon won’t be retiring this offseason. Or at the very least it would be shocking if he did. The Rockies signed Blackmon to a six-year, $108 million extension prior to the 2018 season with player options for 2022 and 2023. Last offseason he stated that the plan was to accept both of those options. He made $21 million this season, and it seems unlikely he would turn down a guaranteed payday for his age 36-37 season. In 2023 he stands to make $18 million now that his contract incentives have been met.

So if all goes according to plan, Charlie Blackmon will be in purple for 2023, likely playing mostly DH with a smattering of right field much like he did this season. But what comes after that? It’s unlikely the Rockies trade Blackmon at the deadline next season, regardless of his performance. We have already seen how the Rockies act at the deadline and would likely see no return as “worthy” for their aged star. I would be dumbfounded if Blackmon did not finish the season with the team.

2023 will likely be a lot of milestone chasing for the beloved Chuck Nazty. He can continue to move up on the franchise leaderboards for offensive numbers. He has a good chance to pass Hall-of-Famer Larry Walker in career runs, doubles, and extra base hits. Blackmon will cement his name in the halls of Rockies history. If anything he will deserve to have his number 19 lifted up alongside Todd Helton’s 17 and Walker’s 33 to be retired. If the Rockies ever start a team Hall of Fame (which they should) he’s guaranteed a purple jacket.

The Athletics’ Nick Groke speculates that Charlie Blackmon might want to keep playing ball after the 2023 season. However, Blackmon is going to be 37 at the end of that year. While decreased defensive reps has definitely helped him regain some speed, he’s definitely lost a step or two. Nagging hamstring issues and now a torn meniscus are the marks of standard wear and tear that come with a lengthy professional career. My guess would be that Chuck Nazty will choose to hang up the beard after 13 major league seasons and ten years of MLB service time. Should Blackmon choose to keep playing in 2024? It might not be with the Rockies. Colorado is a ballclub trending younger and younger. After four straight losing seasons and expectations for a fifth next year, the team might finally commit to a rebuild. If they do, there might not be a place for a soon-to-be 38-year old outfielder and DH.

For now, Josie is still on a vacation far away. At least for one more season Charlie Blackmon will be a staple of the Colorado Rockies lineup, and we’re not going to lose his love toni-ight.

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What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Rockies in 2023 | Rox Pile

Rockies GM Bill Schmidt’s comments on Saturday in regards to the 2022 season were... unpopular to say the least. Kevin Larson—the Sabermetric Skeptic—over at Rox Pile breaks down his comments in the frustrated and pessimistic way that only a long-suffering Rockies fan can.

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On The Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 4, El Paso Chihuahuas 3

The Albuquerque Isotopes played the final game of Rockies minor league baseball with a 4-3 victory over the championship-bound El Paso Chihuahuas. Starting pitcher Logan Allen gave up 9 hits, including a home run, but kept the Chihuahuas from scoring more than three runs over his six innings of work. He struck out eight batters and only walked one. Allen also took a scary-looking hit in the sixth inning when a sharply hit comebacker deflected off his glove and smashed into his head. Fortunately the bill of his cap took the brunt of the damage and he was able to continue pitching. PJ Poulin, Julián Fernández, and Zach Lee all pitched scoreless single innings out of the bullpen with Lee earning his 12th save of the season to cap off the victory. The Isotopes scored four runs on just five hits, with Tyler Hill having the only multi-hit game of the night. Hill went 2-for-4 and hit his first Triple-A home run.

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