Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon has changed representation and is now a client of the ACES agency, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The move comes at a crucial time for Blackmon, who is eligible for arbitration once more this winter before reaching free agency next offseason.
Blackmon’s new reps’ first order of business will be to engage the Rockies in negotiations on his next contract. Odds are, the sides will focus first on avoiding arbitration. MLBTR predicts that Blackmon will nearly double his 2017 salary of $7.3MM, with the algorithms projecting a $13.4MM arb value.
Of course, the opportunity to chat might also lead to some exploration of a longer-term deal. Blackmon will turn 32 next summer, so he’s not as youthful as fellow mid-arb star Nolan Arenado. And the Rockies do have a variety of players under contract into the future that might help make up for his theoretical loss in free agency. Still, it will be tempting to see what it might cost to keep Blackmon’s bat at the top of the lineup into the future.
If the sides can’t work out an extension, Blackmon figures to hit the open market in 2018 as one of the premier free agents available. While his age will tamp down his earning power, few free agents will be able to match his recent track record of productivity, barring a collapse in the season to come. Indeed, the veteran has taken his game to a new level in 2016-17. A two-time All-Star, Blackmon was a solid bat with some power and speed through the first few years of his career, but he won an NL Batting Title in 2017 and has turned in an overall .327/.390/.578 line with 66 homers and 31 steals over the past two seasons.
That’s enough output with the stick to make Blackmon a significant asset even if he eventually moves over to a corner spot. Just how much his future is worth, though, is a complicated topic of its own. If he and the team do sit down at some point, it isn’t tough to imagine the Rockies being willing to promise another three years and Blackmon’s reps seeking five, with the sides also sure to haggle over the annual value of the deal. It will be interesting to watch and see whether accommodation can be reached at some point over the coming months.
Blackmon’s switch in representation is now reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which contains information on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players. If you see any errors or omissions, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.