Although both Carlos Gonzalez and Rockies GM Jeff Bridich have publcly expressed interest in exploring a new long-term deal before the three-time All-Star hits free agency next winter, Gonzalez tells Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post that the team has yet to approach his camp in serious negotiations.
“I felt like (Bridich) was trying to make sure where we were, in terms of whether I wanted to be here or not,” Gonzalez tells Kiszla. “But after that, there’s been zero talks.”
Gonzalez firmly put the onus on Bridich and his staff to begin negotiations, stating that “the team needs to approach us” and adding “it’s up to them.” Kiszla asked Bridich for a comment on the possibility of extension talks continuing into the season, the GM declined to discuss the matter.
Gonzalez, 31, has stated his desire to remain with the Rockies in the past, though there’s certainly an argument to be made that the team is well-suited to play on without him in the long term. Longtime top prospect David Dahl impressed in his Major League debut last season, while offseason signee Ian Desmond could shift back to the outfield in the wake of a theoretical Gonzalez departure. Desmond is slated to spend the 2017 season at first base, but his versatility affords the Rockies some flexibility as they look toward their future roster construction. The Rox also still have Charlie Blackmon controlled through the 2018 campaign, and promising outfield prospect Raimel Tapia is coming off a strong year split between Double-A and Triple-A.
Furthermore, Gonzalez will be 32 years of age this coming October, so a long-term pact for the slugger would run well into his mid-30s. The Rockies have taken a definitive win-now approach this offseason, and clogging the long-term payroll with a new commitment could both hinder their financial outlook down the road and create issues in retaining other stars. Perennial MVP candidate Nolan Arenado, for instance, is controlled through the 2019 season — the same point at which hopeful cornerstones Trevor Story, Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson will be reaching arbitration eligibility.
While Colorado’s currently minimal commitments beyond the 2018 campaign do technically create room for a new CarGo deal to fit into the books, Bridich and his lieutenants may also simply feel better served to leave space to lock up various members of the team’s increasingly youthful core.
Gonzalez is set to earn $20MM in 2017 — the final season of a seven-year, $80MM extension that he signed prior to the 2011 season. After several injury-shortened seasons, he’s averaged 152 games played and batted a healthy .285/.337/.522 with 65 homers, 67 doubles and four triples over the past two years.