Saunders: Would Rockies trade Charlie Blackmon? And nine more questions worth asking

As the Rockies near their season opener at San Diego on March 30, I present 10 questions begging for answers:

1. If the Rockies are out of contention by the trade deadline, and if Charlie Blackmon is raking as a designated hitter, would they consider dealing him? Should they?

I know he turns 37 on July 1. And yes, he’s a franchise icon. And yes, he can veto trades (his contract says he can block deals to 15 clubs annually). But “Chuck Nazty,” who’s in the final year of his contract, will always be a Rockie. But if he has a chance to play for a contender, it’s worth trading him.

2. Will the Rockies trade C.J. Cron? Cron is a bargain, making a team-friendly $7.25 million in the final year of his contract. He hit 28 homers in 2021, and 29 in ’22 while reaching the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his career. So, yes, the Rockies are likely going to trade Cron at some point.

3. Will Kris Bryant be an All-Star for the fifth time in his career? If he stays healthy, yes. If you have watched Bryant swing the bat, you know that he’s an excellent hitter with smooth power. I can foresee a .290 average, 30 home runs, and 100-plus RBIs.

4. Will 21-year-old shortstop Ezequiel Tovar win National League rookie of the year? It’s doubtful. Tovar, I believe, will wow us with his defense, but he’s got to put up big offensive numbers to garner national attention and I don’t think that’s going to happen.

5. Will right-hander German Marquez have a bounce-back season? While I don’t think he’ll ever match his 2018 season (14-11, 3.77 ERA in 33 starts), he’s still got good stuff. So yes, he’ll rebound. But he’s going to have to become more of a technician to do so.

6. What’s going to be the Rockies’ weakest link? No surprise here, it’s going to be the starting rotation. Even if the top starters, Kyle Freeland and Marquez, pitch well, the Rockies lack depth. They didn’t really address that shortcoming during the offseason.

7. When will outfielder Zac Veen get called up to make his big-league debut? Barring an injury or major drought in the minors, I predict Veen will join the Rockies before the All-Star break.

8. Will the Rockies be better on the road? Yes, how could they not be? The Rockies’ road record was 27-54 last season where they hit .225 and launched just 51 home runs.

9. The Rockies and Nationals were the only teams that failed to hit a grand slam last season. It was the only time in franchise history that the Rockies did not hit a slam. Will they hit one this season? Of course. Duh. Odds are in their favor.

10. How many fans will the Rockies average at Coors Field this season? I sense a major malaise within the fan base, and although the revamped schedule will help draw fans (the Yanks are coming July 14-16), I could see the Rockies drawing fewer than 30,000 fans per game for the first time in a full season since 2007.

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