Colorado Rockies shopping All-Star Charlie Blackmon for pitching


Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon delivered a breakout year in 2014. The 27 year old managed a .288/.335/.440 line with 19 home runs and 72 RBI through 593 at-bats, even finding himself a spot in the All-Star game. What did it amount to? According to Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, Colorado hopes to use the outfielder as a trade chip to acquire starting pitching.

The Rockies gave up the most runs in baseball last season and have been all quiet since the end of the season, short on luck and unable to ink any potential upgrades to the pitching staff. Morosi and Rosenthal note that the main reason Colorado has fallen behind in signing players is the hitters’ haven that is Coors Field.

The Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago Cubs have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the young star. Each team could use a young bat to help produce a more productive outfield. The Rangers are noted to have already shown interest in Blackmon in the past.

The Rockies have also talked to the New York Mets about right-handed Dillion Gee, but that may have little to do with their quest to trade Blackmon. Blackmon possess more trade value than Gee, and the Mets have Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, and Juan Lagares lined up to be in their outfield. If a deal did fall into a place, Blackmon would likely need to head to a third team.

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Baltimore represents a more realistic destination for Blackmon as the Orioles have young impact pitchers to offer the Rockies in return for him. Though the Birdland has also been named a possible new home for Carlos Gonzalez, Blackmon represents a cheaper option for the O’s, both in terms of money and the prospects it would take to acquire him.

With the loss of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis this offseason, the Orioles could certainly use another promising name to add to their outfield picture. The Orioles are currently set to have Alejandro De Aza and David Lough patrol the spots to either side of star centerfielder Adam Jones. A signing of Blackmon could push Lough to a fourth outfielder role.

Morosi and Rosenthal were silent about any possible returns from Atlanta, but Mike Minor could fill the spot nicely. He regressed last season (6-12, 4.77 ERA through 145 innings) after a dominant 2013, and the Braves may want to part with him if they don’t believe he can rebound. The Braves did a great job dealing another young starter, Tommy Hanson, before his value went down, and they could explore a similar trade with Minor.

If the Colorado Rockies do manage to pull off a trade, where does that put them in terms of replacing Blackmon? They could be pleased with an outfield mix of Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, Drew Stubbs, and Brandon Barnes, but if not, free agent Colby Rasmus is still up for hire.

The career .246 hitter has managed a 23, 22, and 18 home runs respectively the past three seasons. He, like Blackmon, is a lefty and could platoon with Stubbs, who is known to struggle against right-handed pitchers. Considering Gonzalez’s injury history, they would likely see some time together in the outfield as well.

There are still unsigned pitchers out there that could fit for the Colorado Rockies, but apparently the higher the altitude, the higher the price. James Shields and Ryan Vogelsong are two that are still available, but it’s hard to imagine either coming to Coors Field unless the Rockies submit the highest bid for his services by a large margin.

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