There’s plenty of intrigue in the Rockies’ outfield at the moment, but Charlie Blackmon‘s contractual status for 2016 isn’t part of it, as Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that the two sides have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million deal.
The deal is just a shade over the midpoint, as the first-time arbitration-eligible Blackmon requested $3.9 million and was offered $2.7 million by the Rockies when figures were exchanged earlier this month. The 29-year-old certainly earned the payday, as he followed up a breakout 2014 by batting .287/.347/.450 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI, and 43 stolen bases over 157 games last season.
The Rockies recently signed Gerardo Parra to a three-year contract and Blackmon admitted over the weekend that he was initially “a little perplexed” by the move. With Carlos Gonzalez and Corey Dickerson also in the mix, a trade could come be coming.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak created quite a bit of a chatter last weekend when he said that there has been “more momentum” in discussions with other general managers and owners for the designated hitter to come to the National League. That “momentum” might have been overstated.
In an interview with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred indicated that a change isn’t likely to come anytime soon.
“The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo,” Manfred said in an interview with ESPN.com in conjunction with his one-year anniversary as commissioner. “I think the vast majority of clubs in the National League want to stay where they are.”
Most can agree that pitchers batting is generally a bad thing — Yeah, yeah, Bartolo Colon — but Manfred has the same feeling as a sizable group of National League fans, namely that the designated hitter is “the single most important feature that defines the differences between the two leagues.” It’s easy to understand that sentiment, but one wonders if part of the resistance on the part of owners is that they don’t want to pay the hitters who could benefit from a potential change.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires after this season, so the thought was that the universal designated hitter could become a thing as soon as 2017. Barring something unexpected, those clinging to tradition can rest easy for now.
The Phillies announced this afternoon that they signed outfielder David Lough to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
With his ability to play all three outfield positions, Lough has been a useful bench piece in the past, but he batted just .201/.241/.313 with four home runs and 12 RBI over 144 plate appearances with the Orioles last season. The 30-year-old was non-tendered by Baltimore in December.
While there’s opportunity with the rebuilding Phillies, it could be a challenge for Lough to make the Opening Day roster. As things stand right now, Odubel Herrera, Peter Bourjos, Aaron Altherr, Cody Asche are ahead of him on the depth chart and the club could be compelled to keep Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel.