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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Rockies trade offers Charlie Blackmon | Colorado Rockies

Still, sources say that the Rockies would listen to offers for Blackmon, even though the chances of a trade before next Wednesday’s Deadline are remote.

Blackmon, who turned 33 this month, has a 15-team no-trade clause, which would complicate any trade negotiations. Colorado would need to consider the reaction—inside and outside its clubhouse—to trading a cornerstone player so soon after signing Nolan Arenado to an eight-year, $260 million extension through 2026.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 23, 2019 at 11:59 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: charlie blackmon, rockies, trade rumors

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   1. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 23, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5864207)
Blackmon's contract isn't exactly an albatross, since he's still a good player. But it's too hefty for the Rox to get any significant return from trading him.

The bigger problem is that they keep signing 30-plus-year-old middle infielders who hit well for their position and then putting them at first base. Do you know who was the last Rockies first baseman to put up an OPS+ of even 110? It was Justin Morneau back in 2014.
   2. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: July 23, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5864236)
Blackmon for Tauchman!
   3. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 23, 2019 at 03:31 PM (#5864269)
Blackmon's trade value has to depend in large part of what teams think of his road performance, doesn't it? His home & road OPS+ every year he's gotten 300+ PA:

Year Home  Away
2014  155   79
2015  141   97
2016  149  152
2017  217  114
2018  158  114
2019  237   75
Mean  176  105 

I know there's a Coors Field hangover effect that's presumably keeping his road hitting down to a degree, but still...

What is an over-30 corner OF, average-at-best defensively, with a ~115 OPS+ worth? The guys who've had a year fitting that description since 2016 are Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Markakis. (You can add Matt Kemp if you punt defense, and Tommy Pham is doing about that this year.) Bruce, Granderson, and Markakis were free agents afterwards -- Bruce then signed for 1/11, Granderson for 1/5, Markakis for 1/6 (2/10 with team option). Blackmon is owed 3/64 (or 4/74) after this year, and would presumably cost talent as well.

I mean, if you're a team with a black hole in an outfield corner then maybe it makes sense, especially if Colorado approaches it as a quasi-salary dump and accepts the proverbial low-A live arm in return. Or if a team thinks that a Blackmon liberated from Coors is better than my spitballed number. But I suspect Blackmon is far more valuable to the Rockies than he would be to anyone else.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 23, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5864272)
Blackmon for Tauchman!
I wholly support this because the Yankees would make him get rid of that atrocious ironic beard/mullet combination.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 23, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5864281)
Blackmon's trade value has to depend in large part of what teams think of his road performance, doesn't it?


I'm old enough to remember when DJ LeMahieu was derided as a Coors Creation because of his home/road splits. I sure hope no team was dumb enough to take a flyer on him.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: July 23, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5864285)
Blackmon's trade value has to depend in large part of what teams think of his road performance, doesn't it?
Is 50% a large part?
   7. Tin Angel Posted: July 23, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5864310)
#6- Back-of-the-envelope calculation but it's about half.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 23, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5864315)
Just remember, 90% of baseball is half pitching.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: July 23, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5864321)
Blackmon is probably a bit better than Castellanos but is owed a lot more money. As long as you gave up nothing in talent, he might work better with an AL team where he can be stuffed at DH if the defense goes further south or a better OF option comes along.
   10. puck Posted: July 23, 2019 at 07:54 PM (#5864345)
The Rockies have been having bad timing with bobbleheads. They had one for Trevor Story a new weeks ago, he was hurt. They had one for Blackmon a week ago, then he hit a slump and is supposedly on the block. Kyle Freeland's comes up in early August, will his ERA be 9 by that point?
   11. Boxkutter Posted: July 23, 2019 at 10:14 PM (#5864391)
The Rockies have been having bad timing with bobbleheads. They had one for Trevor Story a new weeks ago, he was hurt. They had one for Blackmon a week ago, then he hit a slump and is supposedly on the block. Kyle Freeland's comes up in early August, will his ERA be 9 by that point?


And Chuck didn't even play in the game they gave his bobblehead away at. It was a 1pm first pitch after the game the night before didn't start until like 9pm.

I've gone to both bobblehead games so far this season. But I won't be going to the next two barring some sort of change in plans. I also picked up three nice Arenado ones in their pro store for only $10 each. Couldn't pass that up. Each numbered only to 300, too!
   12. puck Posted: July 23, 2019 at 10:45 PM (#5864405)
True about Blackmon on his bobblehead day. I think they sat Arenado after that late game too, though he came in later in the bobblehead game.

Haven't most Rockies hitters done fine after leaving? Even Dante Bichette hit after leaving. Vinny Castilla didn't, but his last year for the Rockies was an OPS+ of 84, so he could have already been on the decline.

   13. Howie Menckel Posted: July 23, 2019 at 10:54 PM (#5864409)
The bigger problem is that they keep signing 30-plus-year-old middle infielders who hit well for their position and then putting them at first base.

Rockies radically change their approach today and called up Yonder Alonso. he's old enough, but never had the MI pedigree.

The Nets in the 1970s traded 7-foot-3 center Rich Kelley on the day of "Rich Kelley Poster Growth Chart Night." #thatsashame

I went to Seinfeld Bobblehead Night recently. 65-year-old Jerry threw a perfect strike, sidearm, from the rubber. I wonder how many hours he spent practicing.

"Haven't most Rockies hitters done fine after leaving?"

DJ LeMahieu seems to be adjusting ok
   14. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2019 at 01:11 AM (#5864458)
Haven't most Rockies hitters done fine after leaving?

Sheesh, I'm trying to remember probably about 10 years back but I recall coming to the conclusion of "not particularly." A good number did but they were generally guys who had hit well on the road while they were there. It was made tougher in those days cuz the Rox were often bringing in older players, meaning they were at prime collapse ages when they left.

Even for a guy like Bichette ... looking at his sOPS+, from 94-96 he put up about a 100 OPS+ on the road. That's not good for a corner RF but it's also about what he was doing at home. From 97-99 that dropped to about a 96 but finished on a high at 117. The next couple of years, he put up about a 104 on the road and overall. Other than the fact that he seemed to be pretty much the same hitter from ages 30 to 37, you'd have to say his road Rox numbers were a reasonable approximation of what he'd do elsewhere. (Basically over those 6 years in CO he had two pretty good years on the road, one average year, two pretty bad years, one really bad.

Galarraga was there from 93-97 and his road OPSs were 912, 882, 759, 748, 931. (Note he too had that odd last-season bump) Over the next 3 years outside of CO, his road OPSs were 990, 849, 746. That's pretty similar.

Burks was there from 94-98 with road OPSs of 933, 755, 903, 820, 927. He followed that with 1031, 918, 861, 987 ... a bit better, again the oddity being the lack of decline. He hit better overall 34-37 than he did at 30-34.

In the last 3 years in Mon, Walker hit 863, 716, 964 on the road. The next 3 he hit 845, 523(!), 1176(!) ... not a lot of difference but the first 3 years were just the dawn of sillyball. In his last 3 in CO, he hit 965, 917, 766. Only part-time play after that, about 1/4 in CO, and he hit 1044, 780.

Cirillo on the other hand hit 628 and 710 on the road two years in Coors, followed that with 690 and 648 by which time he was a part-time player. Neifi was full-time 98-00 and the first part of 01 and put up OPSs of 631, 643, 631 and 580 (1/3 KC) ... followed by 580 and 496 in 02-03 although he had a nice road bump in his next/last full-time season in 2005 all the way to 676.

So Bichette, Andres and Burks put up similar or better (Burks) road numbers after leaving Colorado. Walker at the start comping Mon-Col and again at the end too in a small sample. Again given age, we might think that means they under-performed in CO but their overall numbers show the same patterns for those years. Cirillo and Neifi stunk on the road in CO and stunk on the road after leaving.

That's pretty much 15 years ago now so ancient history and just a few examples from well-known players. But I've never really bought the hangover effect, at least not as any major factor, and from what I've seen if they were a good road hitter in CO, they continue to be good hitters ... and if they weren't good road hitters, they continue to not be good hitters.

As to LeMahieu -- who knows? He's having the best year of his career so far, way out of line with all but one year in CO. Two years ago he had only a small gap between his H/R OPS and even in 2015 and 2018 it was only about 100 points. 2016 was a massive home outlier and a small road outlier. His current home OPS is 2nd best of his career and the gap between this and his normal Coors home OPS is about the same as the gap between this and his best. His raw road OPS this year is 100+ points better than his overall career raw OPS and 50 points higher than his career Coors OPS. His career ISO at Coors was a meager 119; this year it's 190. Whatever that is, it's not relief from hangover effect.
   15. puck Posted: July 24, 2019 at 01:38 AM (#5864469)
I'm looking at OPS+. Holliday, Seth Smith, Dickerson are others who seemed to do fine after leaving. Blackmon can't be the only Rockies player with big splits...that pretty goes with a 120+ park factor.

Cirillo didn't hit well as a Rockie. So I would not expect players who already were not good for the Rockies to be good once they leave.

   16. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2019 at 04:30 AM (#5864480)
My point though is ... in his last 3 seasons in CO, Holliday put up OPS of 819, 860, 892 on the road -- a darn good hitter. 2009 was his split Oak/StL season so skip that ... for 2010-12, he had overall OPS of 922, 912, 877. Those aren't particularly out of line with what he was hitting on the road in CO.

Seth Smith is just gonna be hard to judge regardless because he's always been a heavily platooned hitter who has topped 500 PA only twice. How he does in any season is in smaller samples and probably varies quite a bit based on how often he got stuck batting against LHP, as a PH, against top relievers, etc. Still his bulk of Rox PT was 2009-11 with OPSs of 730, 634, 814 with the last one his most heavy usage. His subsequent seasons were 764, 775, 767 on the road. His best and worst road seasons were with the Rox but his overall road performance was not a bad predictor of his future road performance.

Dickerson only had 900 total PA in CO so even harder to judge. He was a guy who mashed at Coors and not so much on the road (nearly a 400-point gap in OPS) but has posted overall or road OPS numbers since then that are more in line with his Coors/road balance.

I'm looking at OPS+

For most of the guys I've cited as being successful afterwards, their road OPS+ at Coors was pretty much in line with their overall OPS+ -- i.e. they weren't showing signs of the supposed "hangover." It's no surprise that when they moved on, their OPS+ stayed the same (aging issues aside). The question is whether there are enough Dickersons (high home OPS+, lousy road OPS+) to establish the "hangover" effect and, for those guys, which does a better job of predicting their future, road/home/overall OPS+.

And even there, I've under-sold Dickerson -- his road OPS+ his last two years in CO was 113 and 103 ... in his first three years away, his overall OPS+ was 106, 118, 117. Seth Smith -- 100, 79, 130 ... followed by overall OPS+s of 111, 101, 134. Holliday 116, 130, 145 followed by 149, 151, 138 because ... f'ing Cardinals!

The last 2+ seasons, Blackmon's road OPS+ are 114, 114, 75 ... back in 2016 it was 152. That would seem to be the guy to worry about because his overall OPS+s in those years were 141, 114, 127. Now if we can find several Blackmons who went onto future success ...

There aren't really many long-serving Rox to even look at or care about. Out of their top 12 WAR players (Trevor Story is already #12), 2 are pitchers, 3 haven't (yet) played for anybody but the Rox and Tulo had tons of injuries. Still from 2012-14, Tulo tore it up on the road (155, 140, 136 OPS+s). Another one is CarGo who clearly had very little left when he left the Rox. But FWIW, in his last two seasons at CO, CarGo had road OPS+s of 66 and 86, very reminiscent of his meager, small sample 60 this year.

I guess Vinny is the long-standing guy we haven't looked at yet. His last 3 road OPS+ were 137, 114, 98. That was actually a bit better than his home OPS+ over that time. So no evidence of a hangover ... but not predictive of his future poor performance although he bounced back to league average late in his career.

Moving down their WARpos list there's not much else to look at ...

Fowler ... From 11-13, his road OPS+ were 123, 105, 95 (close to his overall) ... from 14-16, 114, 112 and the magical 153 (oh how I miss that!) so a bump up but not really a guy showing any hangover effect.

EYsr ... 117, 54 and 99 ... 102, 91, 97

Payton ... 1 full season of 118 road OPS+, the best of his career.

Pierre ... 112, 64 ... 94, 107 ... more a LeMahieu type.

We're now down below 4 career WAR with the Rox and at the point where nobody should much care. Most of the guys with solid post-Coors careers posted perfectly good road OPS+s during their tenure so don't show much sign of any "hangover." They mostly continued to perform at about the same level afterward.

So really the best argument I see for the existence of a substantial issue is that, given age, we probably should have expected a number of these guys to decline but they didn't. Since they didn't maybe these guys were really better than they looked in their Rox days -- but then it still seems whatever was holding them back was having the same relative effect home/road. Maybe the evil humours just can't survive high altitude.
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 24, 2019 at 09:43 AM (#5864496)
My point though is ... in his last 3 seasons in CO, Holliday put up OPS of 819, 860, 892 on the road -- a darn good hitter. 2009 was his split Oak/StL season so skip that ... for 2010-12, he had overall OPS of 922, 912, 877. Those aren't particularly out of line with what he was hitting on the road in CO.


That's 857 on the road with the Rockies, 904 overall after leaving Coors.

Still his bulk of Rox PT was 2009-11 with OPSs of 730, 634, 814 with the last one his most heavy usage. His subsequent seasons were 764, 775, 767 on the road.


So Seth Smith had a average of a 726 road OPS while playing in Colorado, and a 769 road OPS after leaving the Rockies.

Dickerson only had 900 total PA in CO so even harder to judge. He was a guy who mashed at Coors and not so much on the road (nearly a 400-point gap in OPS) but has posted overall or road OPS numbers since then that are more in line with his Coors/road balance.


Dickerson's career road OPS: 576, 735, 724, 860, 828, 796, 922. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess when he left Coors.

Your examples show hitters raising their road OPS by roughly 50 points after leaving Coors.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2019 at 07:32 PM (#5864737)
Dickerson is the only real example. And that is a quite small sample. His CO road PAs were fewer than 500.

40 point swings in OPS over small samples happen all the time. That's doubly so when you ignore all the other examples I listed where that wasn't the case. Seth Smith's career best road OPS+ was his last with the Rox. He then kept that up for another 3-4 years. He had one terrible road season with the Rox. Blackmon's road OPS this year is 660; raising it to 700 doesn't make him an attractive trade target. His road OPS+ last year was 114, his overall OPS+ was 114. The last 3 years he's averaged a 125 OPS+ overall and about a 105 on the road. Even if his road OPS+ jumps to 110-115, his home performance is gonna plummet.**

There's nothing wrong with trading for Blackmon if you are expecting a 110-115 OPS+ hitter although I'd still be wary given this year's road performance. There is a problem if you're expecting a 120-125 OPS+ hitter. Of course you never know -- he could be another former Rockie who shows no signs of aging. You want to find Rox hitters whose overall OPS+ is a good predictor of future performance away from Coors? Find Rox hitters with relatively small spreads in home/road performance.

One example;

For Walker's last 3 years in Mon, he had about a 134 road OPS+ and a 137 overall OPS+
For his first 3 years in CO, he had about a 144 road OPS+ and a 148 overall OPS+
In his last full 3 years in CO, he had about a 139 road OPS+ and a 145 overall OPS+
In his last 2 years (part CO), he had about a 144 road OPS+ and a 141 overall OPS+

Some guys of course just become better/worse hitters for reasons having nothing to do with park. Seth Smith had a 109 OPS+ his last 3 years in CO, a 116 in his next 3 years. Those three road OPS you cite averaged to about a 107 road OPS+, basically what we'd expect for a 109 OPS+ hitter. The next three average to about a 120 OPS+, a bit above what we'd expect for a 116 OPS+ hitter. Smith became a slightly better overall hitter when he left, both at home and on the road. He may have had a slightly bigger bump to his road performance. In both before/after, we're only talking about a full season's worth of PAs for that road OPS so we have small sample variability too.

So Smith had no symptoms of a hangover in CO as his road OPS+ was a good match for his overall OPS+. He became a slightly better hitter after he left, both at home and on the road. His road did improve more than his home but even that would be hard to call a "hangover" effect since it would rely on the assumption that he was a "true" better road hitter than home hitter and the Coors hangover served to bring his "true" road OPS+ down to his Coors OPS+.

First, for any individual Rox hitter, you have to show that their road performance was substantially worse than their home performance in adjusted terms to make a case that they are a victim of the alleged "hangover." Then, to say that teams shouldn't use Blackmon's road performance as a more reliable projection, show that the hungover hitters are no longer hungover when they leave ... or are able to maintain a great home OPS such that their overall adjusted performance stays stable (or within aging expectations).

It's actually hard to find long-serving Rox hitters whose road OPS+ is severely out of whack with their overall OPS+. Once you find some of those, see how they did after leaving Coors. We've found Dickerson, possibly Holliday (his road OPS+ went up, his home went down but not as much) ... and an aging CarGo.

Weirdly, this year, AL hitters show only a 7 point raw OPS edge H/R. Last year it was 28 points, the year before 40 points. Maybe launch angle and Ks evens that all out.

** Split "+" measures don't actually adjust for park, they just comp to league average. So the listed home sOPS+ for a Rox hitter is useless because it's got Coors baked in. That's true for road sOPS+ too but Rox hitters will face a roughly similar set of road parks as any other hitter so road sOPS+ is still at least a reasonable approximation. They of course face a somewhat tougher set of road parks since (a) they don't get to play road games at Coors and (b) they play extra road games in SD and LA. So we always expect some small deficit in road sOPS+ for Rox hitters but I doubt that's more than 2 points.

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