Blackmon reaches one-year deal with Rockies

January 25th, 2016

DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon should be OK on gas money.

The Rockies and Blackmon agreed on a one-year, $3.5 million contract to avoid arbitration Monday. The deal leaves second baseman DJ LeMahieu as the team's lone unsigned arbitration-eligible player. The contract came in slightly above the $3.3 million midpoint between Blackmon's filing and the club's offer in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

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The signing comes the week after a side-splitting social media post. Blackmon -- projected to be the Rockies' leadoff hitter for the third straight year -- was in Atlanta, stuck on the side of a road having run out of gas when he called LeMahieu, who also lives in Atlanta and is Blackmon's workout partner. LeMahieu took a candid picture of his friend pouring the gas can.

"He snapped it at the perfect time," Blackmon said during Rockies Fest on Saturday. "I didn't realize he was taking the picture, but then after the fact, I smiled, and it would have made a nice picture. But he got me right when I was still a little bewildered. It would have been me filling up the gas tank, but also smiling."

Blackmon, 29, batted .287 with a .347 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage, plus led the club with 43 stolen bases (in 56 attempts) last season. In 2014, he appeared in the All-Star Game and went .288/.355/.440. Last season, he finished stronger by hitting .282 in the second half as opposed to .264 in 2014 and increased his stolen-base total by 15.

"I don't have nearly as many specific goals -- it's to build on what I've done," Blackmon said. "I made a lot of strides in baserunning and hitting and defense. I want to continue to build on that. I don't feel like there's one aspect that I feel I'm really lacking and need to improve. I have a little bit of everything, I'd like to think. And I want to continue to build on that."

• Watch Blackmon make a backward, half-court shot at Nuggets game

Even with the contract signing, Blackmon faces uncertainty. The Rockies signed outfielder Gerardo Parra, who can play all three spots, for three years and $27.5 million. Now they have four left-handed-hitting outfielders -- Blackmon, Parra, Corey Dickerson and Carlos Gonzalez -- who have credentials to be in the regular lineup. Another factor is the National League West is loaded with left-handed pitching.

Add that to the Rockies' desire to add starting pitching and to beef up the bullpen, and it signals that a trade is possible. Several teams seeking a center fielder have been involved in the discussions, but there has been no deal.

"It's good to be relevant," Blackmon said. "It's nice that somebody is taking enough time to write something about you. I try not to read into it too much. I know it's out of my control, so I don't let it get to me. But it's always good to be something that other teams recognize as maybe this player could help my club. But on the other hand, obviously, I love the Colorado Rockies organization and I would like to play here."