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Blackmon, Rockies reach $14M, 1-year deal, avoid arbitration

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon and the Colorado Rockies avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $14 million, one-year contract on Friday.

The 31-year-old center fielder hit .331 with 37 homers and 104 RBIs last year and made $7.3 million. He can become a free agent after this season.

Blackmon turned in one of the most productive seasons from the leadoff spot in major league history. His 102 RBIs from the top of the order surpassed Darin Erstad's previous major league record of 100 set with the Angels in 2000. Blackmon had 383 total bases - the most by a leadoff hitter for a season.

His 37 homers tied him with Marcell Ozuna and Rockies teammate Nolan Arenado for third-most in the NL.

In other deals, second baseman DJ LeMahieu agreed to an $8.5 million deal after making $4.85 million in 2017. He played in a career-high 155 games last season, hit .310 and made the All-Star team.

Right-hander Chad Bettis agreed to $2 million deal, up from $545,000 in 2017. He was one of the feel-good stories of baseball last season in his return from testicular cancer. He underwent surgery in November 2016 and went through treatments during the spring and into the season before returning to the rotation on Aug. 14. The 28-year-old Bettis made nine starts in 2017 and finished 2-4 with a 5.05 ERA.

Left-hander Chris Rusin got a raise from $545,000 to $1,287,500 after going 5-1 with a career-best 2.65 ERA in 60 relief appearances in his sixth season with the Rockies.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Updated January 12, 2018

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