On Saturday, Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Colorado Rockies have made outfielder Charlie Blackmon available in trade talks.
Although there are many clubs that would appreciate a solid left-handed stick, one might be inclined to suggest that it would be wise for a club like the Baltimore Orioles to keep a particularly close eye on Blackmon.
After losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis to free agency, the Orioles have a couple of very big holes to fill in their lineup. Plus, with many still wondering whether or not Chris Davis will bounce back, and a certain amount of concern still surrounding the health of Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, the O’s could indeed use another bat.
Although Baltimore continues to be linked to free agent Colby Rasmus and has reportedly entertained the thought of trading for Andre Ethier, Blackmon may be the best fit of all. While Rasmus and Ethier are each coming off of rather unimpressive seasons, Blackmon, on the other hand, had a breakout year in 2014.
Last season, Blackmon slashed .288/.335/.440 with 19 home runs, 72 RBIs and 28 stolen bases while playing in a career-high 154 games. He also made an All-Star team and posted a 2.0 fWAR.
Due to the departure of Markakis, there is some uncertainty surrounding the issue of who will bat leadoff for the O’s in 2015. Seeing as how Blackmon worked almost exclusively as a leadoff man in 2014, posting a .291 BA and a .781 OPS in 578 at-bats in the No. 1 spot, it should be safe to say that he could solve that issue. Considering the fact he has played all three outfield positions, he could also fill the void in right field rather nicely, too.
At any rate, at this point in the offseason, a team looking to add an outfielder might be hard-pressed to do better than Blackmon. Sure, there is a chance that his 2014 output may prove to be unsustainable, but at just 28 years old, he could simply be entering his prime as well.
While the Rockies are rumored to be seeking arms and may very well be looking to sell high on Blackmon, the O’s would be wise to at least put him on their radar if they have not done so already. If the price is right, he may turn out to be the perfect replacement for Markakis.