Earlier this week, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich spoke about the perpetual Charlie Blackmon trade rumors, telling reporters (including MLB.com’s Thomas Harding) that he’s never felt a need or a desire to part with Blackmon and has explained as much to the outfielder himself. Bridich likened the scenario to that of Carlos Gonzalez — another oft-rumored trade candidate that remains with the Rox — suggesting that he fields plenty of calls from teams doing their due diligence but has never had an inclination to trade Blackmon.
This morning, ESPN’s Jayson Stark added some more context to the Blackmon market (via Twitter). Stark spoke to an exec whose team expressed interest in Blackmon but found the asking price to be exorbitant. “They’re only trading him if they get an Adam Eaton type deal,” the unnamed exec told Stark. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch agrees, tweeting that the Cardinals ran into a staggering asking price when searching for center fielders, ultimately upping their offer to Dexter Fowler rather than entertaining the notion of parting with the necessary young talent to procure a center fielder such as Blackmon on the trade market.
Eaton, of course, was traded from the White Sox to the Nationals last week in exchange for a massive haul that included top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez as well as 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning. While it should be cautioned that one executive’s take doesn’t necessarily depict Colorado’s exact asking price, it seems safe to assume that Bridich isn’t keen on moving Blackmon barring an overwhelming offer.
It should also be noted that it seems decidedly unlikely that a team will step up and make such an offer. Blackmon is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $9MM next season and will be arbitration-eligible once more before hitting the open market after the 2018 season, meaning he’ll cost more in his final two arbitration years than Eaton will over the next three years combined. Beyond that, Eaton is controlled for a total of five years and was arguably the better all-around player in 2016, depending on how much weight one assigns to his defense and baserunning. Even those who consider Blackmon to be the better player can likely acknowledge the notion that five years of Eaton at a total of $38.4MM (with the final two years being non-guaranteed club options) carries more value than two years of Blackmon at somewhere between $20-23MM.
Nonetheless, the signing of Ian Desmond has only fueled speculation that the trade of an outfielder is nigh for the Rockies, but Bridich steadfastly denied that at this week’s Desmond press conference, as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. While the GM conceded that he’ll continue to keep an eye on the first base market, he also repeatedly stressed that Desmond was brought in not to play in the outfield but to play at first base. “Until [Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion] are fully signed, we will certainly keep abreast of the market, just like we always do, but we signed Ian to be our first baseman.”