As expected, Charlie Blackmon will remain a Rockie.
Blackmon exercised his $21 million player option, keeping him in Colorado for next season, a source said. He has been in the organization since he was drafted in 2008, including the last 11 in the major leagues.
Blackmon signed his six-year contract in 2018 and has one more player option for 2023.
"I haven't entertained going somewhere else or trying to leave," Blackmon said at the end of the season. "I don't expect any changes."
Blackmon started off slow last season, but ended the year with a .270 batting average and 13 homers. He was able to stay healthy, which is always a goal of his, but overall it was not his best year.
“I did a few things well, but not as much as I would have liked,” he said.
Nonetheless, he continued to climb up the franchise leader board, passing Carlos González for second-most games played (1,269), Larry Walker for second-most hits (1,450) and Troy Tulowitzki for seventh-most home runs (191). These milestones became like second nature to him — he typically did not know he had achieved another record, and was oftentimes nonchalant when asked by the media.
“That’s cool,” he said one night after passing Tulowitzki. “I know Tulo.”
Last season was his third in right field, and he felt his defense made strides. He could slide into a new role next season, at least part of the time, as the National League is expected to adopt the designated hitter as part of the CBA agreement.
"I mean I think the DH position helps the Rockies as a team, just because of our unique home field park," he said. "I don't personally like DHing a whole lot, but I do think it's going to be a necessary evil for health and safety of our guys."
As one of the few veterans, Blackmon became the unquestionable leader of a young team. He created the MVP chain, which he gave out during a post-win ceremony to the best player in that game. When the team needed a boost in Pittsburgh in May at the end of a particularly bad road trip — even by Rockies standards — it was Blackmon that united the clubhouse and led them to a win later that day.
"We got a lot of young guys in the game, we got a lot of experience," he said. "I think a lot of our young guys took a step forward."
It's frustrating, he admitted though, to watch the same teams make the playoffs every year. He's been to the postseason just twice, and said it's hard to significantly improve from one year to the next with the same group of players.
The Rockies are in need specifically of a power outfielder and bullpen help, and likely another infielder as Trevor Story is expected to sign elsewhere. Teams are able to sign free agents beginning on Nov. 7, so it's too early to know what additions the Rockies will make.
"I don't think we have a bad group of players," Blackmon said. "I think we are very talented. I think we played really well the last couple of weeks. Does that translate to playing really well all next year? I hope so."