Rockies, Charlie Blackmon avoid arbitration, now comes the hard part

The Rockies avoided arbitration with All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon, agreeing to a one-year, $14 million deal, FanRag Sports reported Friday. Now the question becomes: Will Colorado try and lock up Blackmon on a long-term deal before he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season?

Blackmon, 32, finds himself in a particularly good bargaining position if he gets off to a good start in 2018.

He’s coming off a 2017 season in which he led the NL in hitting and slashed at .331/.399/.601 with 37 home runs (tied for third in the NL with teammate Nolan Arenado) and 104 RBIs, good for fifth in NL MVP balloting. He also was an All-Star for the second time in his seven MLB seasons as the Rockies made the postseason for the first time since 2009.

Looking forward, GM Jeff Bridich faces a decision. Blackmon is part of a group of everyday players, including Arenado, DJ LeMahieu and Trevor Story, that has not only softened the blow of exits by players such as Troy Tulowitzki and now Carlos Gonzalez but also made Colorado viable in the NL West.

Now, having committed some $106 million to the Rockies bullpen this offseason alone, Bridich — with a relatively young starting rotation in place — has to look at whether one of his most valuable everyday players, likely at the peak of his game, is worth a longer-term deal. 

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