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Charlie Blackmon exercises player option, will return to Rockies in 2022, per report

Blackmon will return to Colorado and earn $21,333,333 in 2022.

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon has exercised his player option and will return to Colorado next season, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman:

Blackmon just finished the four guaranteed years of his long-term deal with the Rockies but had player options in both 2022 and ‘23. He’ll earn $21,333,333 next season, but his salary will drop to $18,333,334 in 2023 if he exercises his second option.

This isn’t a surprising decision for the 35-year-old Blackmon, who was once one of the most electrifying contact hitters in baseball and won the NL batting title in 2017. He’s regressed in recent seasons and posted a 96 OPS+ in 2021, his worst in a season since he played 42 games for the Rockies in 2012, while hitting 13 homers, his fewest in a 162-game season since he hit six in 2013. He posted a .270/.351/.411 slash line in 2021 with -3 defensive runs saved in right field.

Blackmon, a .300/.359/.495 career hitter, will provide a veteran presence to a rebuilding Rockies team in 2022. Unless the Rockies make a significant addition in the outfield, he figures to see a lion’s share of the playing time in right field, with Raimel Tapia, Garrett Hampson, Connor Joe, and Sam Hilliard currently being Colorado’s other most notable outfield options.