Charlie Blackmon Returns to Colorado for 2024
It seemed almost inevitable, but the Colorado Rockies finally announced on Friday, September 29, that they have agreed to a one-year extension with veteran Charlie Blackmon. The team announced the deal prior to Blackmon’s first at-bat of the night to generous applause from the Coors Field faithful. Robert Murray of FanSided.com was the first to report the details of the deal, citing sources that it was worth $13 million with an added $2 million available via plate appearance incentives. The deal secures that Blackmon, 37, will return for his 14th season in Colorado, while potentially serving as a farewell season for the fan-favorite player.
Selected by the Rockies in the second round of the 2008 draft, Blackmon toiled away in the minor leagues, quickly proving that he had a knack for swinging the bat while hitting for a quality average and getting on base. His hard work finally paid off and on June 7, 2011, when he made his debut against the San Diego Padres going 0-for-3 on the day. However, he would quickly notch a number of firsts over the next month including his first career home run on July 1, his 25th birthday. Things looked bright for the young outfielder, as he battled for playing time.
Unfortunately, injuries would play a role in hindering Blackmon’s progression in the early years. While rounding second base and heading to third on a Jonathan Herrera base hit, Blackmon broke his foot. The freak accident ended his season as he would remain on the shelf for a long while. He would start 2012 in Colorado Springs rehabbing and getting regular playing time, but another freak accident of a turf toe would sideline him once again, and he wouldn’t appear in the big leagues again until August 2012, a lost season for the Rockies.
Once again in 2013, due to the lack of opportunity with Dexter Fowler in the outfield, Blackmon bounced up and down for much of the season, until he was called up for good in July of 2013. In 82 games Blackmon slashed .309/.336/.467 with 25 extra-base hits, including six home runs.
Then, sporting a new beard, Blackmon went 6-for-6 on Opening Day in 2014 to establish himself as an everyday player for the Rockies and begin his journey as one of the greatest leadoff hitters in MLB history. From 2014-2019, Blackmon was named to four All-Star teams, won two Silver Slugger awards, and earned a fifth-place finish in MVP voting in 2017.
2023 marked the final year of the six-year $108 million extension Blackmon signed at the start of the 2018 season. Blackmon considered that retirement would be on the table, depending on how he performed in 2023, but after suffering a hand injury in June and missing over 50 games, Blackmon returned to great success since returning from injury, batting .311/.405/.496 in 37 games. Now, he has the chance to continue to serve as a leader for the new generation of Rockies starts.
“We’ve got some young guys that are going to contribute,” Blackmon told reporters on Friday, “We’ve got some guys that aren’t so young anymore — they’re like young veterans, I suppose, that still have a lot of room to grow up. So I think there’s a lot more left.”
Blackmon now sees himself in the same role as a player he looked up to when he was a rookie. “It’s fun to be the younger guy when Todd Helton retires, and now it’s kind of fun to be the older guy that will retire someday — and have the young guys around,” Blackmon said. “It’s one thing to see it when you’re 24. Now I’ve had a long time to navigate my own path and see the back end of it. It’s really neat.”
Blackmon has had a front-row seat and has been a quiet leader and sounding board for a new Rockies core. Nolan Jones and Brenton Doyle have often cited the advice and guidance that Blackmon has shared with them. Players have also noted the important presence that Blackmon brings to the clubhouse while leading by example rather than word. Also showing a desire to stay in Colorado, rather than pursue a championship elsewhere speaks volumes to Blackmon’s character as a player and a person.
Blackmon with turn 38 in July of 2024 and could use the season as a farewell of sorts. He is the only active player in MLB with at least 300 doubles, 60 triples, and 200 home runs, with his 63 career triples leading active players. Until Mookie Betts this season, Blackmon held the record for most RBI out of the leadoff spot. There are numerous other accomplishments and records for Blackmon to celebrate from his career, and he will be able to cement his status as a Rockies great next season. He ranks second in most offensive categories behind only Todd Helton.
Fans and critics may question the validity of signing a veteran like Blackmon after the team has suffered its first 100-loss season, but Chuck Nazty has shown that he has plenty left in the tank and that his leadership is indispensable. Every rebuilding team needs veteran leadership and Blackmon has adopted that role wholeheartedly.