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Colorado Rockies have unique opportunity to strengthen already fantastic defense

Drew Creasman Avatar
December 14, 2018

Las Vegas – Charlie Blackmon, like the rest of us, isn’t getting any younger.

Obviously, this is not news for anyone. But for the man who has managed the expansive central position in Coors Field’s massive outfield better than anyone in franchise history, it might soon become an issue that needs addressing.

Again, this is nothing new. GM Jeff Bridich confirmed that an eventual move was discussed during Blackmon’s recent negotiations when he signed a 5-year extension.

We’ve been talking for a few years about Blackmon’s eventual move to a corner outfield spot, though that conversation has always been reliant on someone else emerging as a more suitable candidate for center field.

David Dahl’s skillset has made him the heir apparent in center since the day the Rockies drafted him in 2012, but an injury history has stopped him from having already taken over the position.

But it looks like it may finally be time for a changing of the guard.

We asked Bud Black about this dynamic moving forward, as well as some general tooling around he might do with the lineup headed into 2019.

“There’s going to be a little turnover in our roster,” he said. “And I do think there will be some new additions. And I think, like I said, there’s going to be younger guys who will get more of an opportunity to play.”

Good news for Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia fans perhaps?

“We’ll have the rest of this offseason prior to Spring Training to think about some of these things in earnest,” he continued. “When our team assembles in Spring Training, we’ll be able to look at it more closely. But I think it’s natural to start thinking about those things for sure. But until you really have your team, I think that’s when it really starts.”

As far as the specifics in center?

“We’ve talked about that with our group and amongst ourselves. And also with Charlie, I think he knows that at some point there might be a move to the corner. At some point in his career. So to your question, yes. We have a few options for sure. David Dahl could play center. Charlie could play center. Don’t forget Ian Desmond made the All-Star team in 2016 with the Texas Rangers as a centerfielder. And Ian grew up as a center of the diamond player. He’s very comfortable being in the middle of the diamond. That’s a possibility as well.”

This line of thinking suggests that, unless Dahl emerges in such a way that he can’t be taken away from centerfield, we are likely to see a number of different players cycle in and out, including Blackmon. The speedy Garret Hampson may also factor in.

But the best case scenario, as it always has been, is that Dahl becomes the man.

“I think with David, he could be anywhere,” Black argued. “But centerfield suits David, as do the corners. But in our park, from — and this is even from the other side of the field when I was playing the Rockies, I think centerfield and left field are two very important defensive positions. Left field in our park is big. And to have a guy with centerfield skill set to play left I think is really important.”

Be ready for some moving around in the outfield unlike anything we’ve seen since Blackmon took over in 2012. If Dahl or any of the other youngsters can get their natural skills to play up, Colorado could actually make a dramatic improvement defensively, an area in which they’ve already excelled.

With run prevention still the primary identity of this team, and Blackmon’s statistics (however reliable overall) plummeting in relation to how he’s faired in the past, this is a place where the Rockies could improve that probably isn’t being talked about enough. Sure, the main concern is still the offense, but that doesn’t mean making the defense better shouldn’t be on the radar as well.

The best part about the discussion regarding center field: the Rockies don’t really need to go outside the organization to reinvigorate this vital position in 2019.


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