Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon has exercised his player option and will return to Colorado next season, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman:
Charlie Blackmon has exercised his $21M-plus player option and will be back with the Rockies next year— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 4, 2021
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.