Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, left, shakes hands with Rockies owner Dick Monfort at Wednesday's press conference at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona.Andy Cross / The Denver Post)
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – The press conference on the official announcement of the mega agreement cementing the rise of Nolan Arenado to the top of the world of baseball had been scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30, but when he learned the time, the initial concern of the third baseman was to know if he would do it for the batting practice at 10:30.
This is the case of Arenado, Colorado's all-star, baseball obsessed, who – after signing a $ 260 million eight-year contract with Colorado on Tuesday – is eager to devote himself entirely to the aspirations of the Rockies World Series.
"I love this group and that's why I got engaged here," said Arenado, moved. "I'm comfortable here and I feel good with our young group.The grass is not always green on the other side, and I really believe we can win. I would not make that decision if I did not believe it.
"I'm here for the long term."
The announcement of the contract setting the Arenado record – he will earn an average annual salary of $ 32.5 million, a new record for a player's position – puts an exclamation point on what was previously a dead season for Colorado, whose only goal in a major league was first baseman Daniel Murphy.
The Arenado agreement includes a disengagement clause after three seasons, which would allow the third base player to become a free agent after 2021. Arenado said the clause "was beneficial to both parties".
"It's a huge commitment on both sides, and so it's a natural assessment situation somehow mid-contract," said general manager Jeff Bridich. "We can continue to communicate where we are and we can honestly assess where it is in three years."
Speculation on a long-term deal for Arenado began to pick up earlier this month, when fans' hopes increased when owner Dick Monfort acknowledged that the reception was "optimistic that we let's be close enough for something to happen. "
The negotiations, which lasted months and motivated the optimism of Monfort, really took root in early December and, when Arenado announced his spring training, the agreement was close.
"Things went really well during the winter meetings, and then from there, it was working diligently, week after week, from that period," Bridich said. "Just a few days ago, we were finally able to say:" Agreement, we have an agreement. "
Arenado and Bridich said the stagnant market for a second consecutive season – and Manny Machado's extended free agencies and (still) Bryce Harper – had not been taken into account in the timing of the deal.
"I was not afraid of free agency, and I did not base my decision (on the market)," said Arenado. "I see what's going on and it's disappointing, but at the end of the day, my heart was there."
Manager Bud Black, who signed a three-year extension for the 2022 season earlier this week, said he had communicated with the six-time Gold Glove winner throughout the process, but what about could only finally "cross his fingers" for Arenado to sign a long contract. long-term agreement.
And now that he did, the message that the signature sends to the baseball sector is clear: pay attention to the Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees, as well as all the big teams that spend a lot of money. Colorado doubles its dreams in the playoffs.
"The message this sends to our players, to our fans and to the whole country is huge," said Black. "It says a lot about the serious commitment of this organization to win in October."
Once Arenado blocked and field fields Charlie Blackmon and Ian Desmond also engaged in multi-year deals, Colorado can now focus its financial attention on its next group of rising stars. Shortstop Trevor Story will be a free agent in 2022, and the mainstays of the rotation Kyle Freeland and German Marquez will be on the market the following year.