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GM tells Blackmon to take rumors with 'grain of salt'

Bridich tells center fielder to be skeptical of reports
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Tuesday that he has told center fielder Charlie Blackmon to take trade rumors involving him "with a huge grain of salt."

Since news broke last week of the signing of Ian Desmond to a five-year, $70 million contract -- which went official when he passed a physical Tuesday -- speculation arose about a possible deal of Blackmon.

DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Tuesday that he has told center fielder Charlie Blackmon to take trade rumors involving him "with a huge grain of salt."

Since news broke last week of the signing of Ian Desmond to a five-year, $70 million contract -- which went official when he passed a physical Tuesday -- speculation arose about a possible deal of Blackmon.

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Desmond signed as a first baseman, but the reasoning was the Rockies could still deal Blackmon and move Desmond to center field, the position he played last season with the Rangers, and sign someone with more time at first base. Desmond has never played the position.

While there have been rumblings and the Rockies haven't closed the door on further maneuvering, representatives of other clubs say the Rockies' asking price has prevented substantive talks.

Video: LAD@COL: Blackmon slides to take a hit from Gonzalez

The Rockies have stayed abreast of possible free-agent first-base targets Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion. MLB.com has reported that the Rockies have talked with the Blue Jays about a Blackmon swap for pitcher Marcus Stroman, and with the Nationals, who eventually landed Adam Eaton in a trade with the White Sox. They were rumored to be a match with the Cardinals before St. Louis signed Dexter Fowler.

Bridich's position is similar to the one he has taken with right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has been rumored to be a trade chip since the day Bridich took the job in 2014. Yet Gonzalez still wears purple pinstripes.

"We actually talked yesterday," Bridich said of Blackmon. "I told him to take all the rumors and everything that he might be reading with a huge grain of salt. As the situation was with 'CarGo' over the past few years, there are teams that are doing their jobs and doing their due diligence and calling on our guys.

"But we have never come out and said, 'We want or need to trade Charlie Blackmon.' I felt like he needed to hear it from me. Unless he saw something directly attributed to me, he could take everything else with a grain of salt."

Blackmon had a career year in batting average (.324), on-base percentage (.381), home runs (29), runs (111) and RBIs (82) in 2016. Blackmon signed for $3.5 million last year to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility. MLBTradeRumors.com projects that Blackmon will earn $9 million in 2017.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Charlie Blackmon