OF Blackmon agrees to $108 million deal
The leadoff hitter extraordinaire with the ragged beard and impressive mullet will be patrolling the Colorado Rockies outfield for quite some time.
NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon made a long-term commitment Wednesday rather than test the free-agent market next offseason, agreeing to a contract that guarantees him $108 million over six seasons.
In January, the two-time All-Star center fielder had agreed to a $14 million, one-year deal. The new agreement announced in San Diego, where the Rockies are playing a four-game series with the Padres, calls for a $2 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office, a $12 million salary this year and $21 million in each of the next three seasons.
Blackmon has player options of $21 million for 2022 and $10 million for 2023, and his 2023 salary can escalate up to $5 million based on plate appearances in 2022: $500,000 each for 400, 425, 450, 475, 500 and 525, and $1 million apiece for 550 and 575.
His 2023 salary would increase by $2 million if he is among the top three in MVP voting from 2018-22 and by $1 million if he finishes fourth or fifth. The 2023 salary is capped at $18 million.
The deal follows an offseason in which many top free agents struggled to find lucrative long-term contracts.
Blackmon is coming off one of the best seasons ever for a leadoff hitter. His 102 RBIs while hitting in the top spot was a major league record, surpassing the mark of 100 set by Darin Erstad of the Angels in 2000. Blackmon’s 383 total bases from the leadoff spot in 2017 also were the most all-time.
The 31-year-old Blackmon has started this season on a torrid pace — hitting .316 with four homers and 16 RBIs. He also made a splendid catch the other day in San Diego to thwart a big inning.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
RHP Wainright set to start home opener
St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright is coming back from the disabled list in time to start the home opener.
The Cardinals plan to activate Wainwright when the Arizona Diamondbacks visit Busch Stadium today, ending the veteran right-hander’s season-opening stint on the 10-day DL for a strained left hamstring. He has been running and shagging fly balls with the team in Milwaukee, where the Cardinals were wrapping up a three-game series on Wednesday.
Manager Mike Matheny said the team decided that Wainwright was ready after giving him one last checkup Wednesday morning.
“I think they invented tests for me to try and pass to prove to them that I was ready,” Wainwright said.
He’ll take the start that was initially scheduled to go to Michael Wacha. The rest of the rotation will be pushed back a day to make room for Wainwright, whose 1,583 career strikeouts is second in Cardinals history only behind Hall of Famer Bob Gibson (3,117).
The Cardinals optioned Jack Flaherty to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Wainwright. Flaherty allowed one run on six hits in five innings against Milwaukee on Tuesday.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Myers on DL, RHP Maton called up
The San Diego Padres have placed outfielder Wil Myers on the 10-day disabled list with nerve irritation in his right arm.
To take his roster spot, the Padres recalled right-handed reliever Phil Maton from Triple-A El Paso on Wednesday.
Myers is hitting .250 with one homer and one RBI in three games. He moved back to the outfield this season to make room for Eric Hosmer at first base.
Myers also missed time this season with a back injury.