Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic pulls back the curtain on the Rockies’ extension with Nolan Arenado, providing detail on the timing, structure and actual content of some of the meetings held between Arenado’s camp and organizational decision-makers (subscription required). While the two sides had hoped to avoid arbitration prior to exchanging figures on filing day, that didn’t come to pass, and at one point the sides even looked to be headed toward a hearing. Instead, the Rox agreed to a $26MM salary for the 2019 campaign (thus avoiding arbitration) under the pretense that Arenado’s agent, Joel Wolfe, would follow that up with a counter-offer to the team’s initial extension proposal.
Ultimately, it took a face-to-face meeting involving Arenado, Wolfe, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich and Rockies owner Dick Monfort for significant progress to be made on the extension — as well as a final call from Monfort to Wolfe urging that they put the finishing touches on a deal. Rosenthal’s column is rife with quotes from Wolfe, Bridich and Arenado himself — each detailing elements of negotiations and the thought processes of all parties involved at various points of talks. Rockies fans in particular will find it of great interest, of course, though a broader audience will surely appreciate the in-depth look of the inner-workings of one of the largest contracts in MLB history.
More on the Rockies…
- The Rockies have curiously declined to address their catching situation this offseason. The reason, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, is that the organization is more concerned with glovework behind the dish than with offense. While there’s an acknowledgement from the club that it “needs more production from whoever plays,” says Saunders, it evidently still believes in its current options over the opportunities that were (and are) available on the market. The Rox are “generally pleased” with Tony Wolters from a defensive standpoint, which is supported by numbers that show he was an above-average framer and otherwise solid defender last year. Veteran Chris Iannetta has a spottier defensive record, though he has at times graded as a well-above-average framer. There’s also Tom Murphy — a former top prospect who has yet to establish himself at the MLB level and now finds himself out of minor league options. His power is more intriguing than his glove, though Murphy drew solid framing marks in ’18 and has generally controlled the running game at a roughly league-average level. In all, catching still looks like a weak spot for the Rockies, and the declaration that defense is valued more than offense seems an odd justification, as there were certainly options who could’ve provided both quality glovework and at least passable offense.
- Third base prospect Colton Welker wasn’t disheartened to see the Rox commit to Arenado for the long term, writes Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Welker, a 21-year-old considered to be among the organization’s top five prospects, told Harding his current focus is simply on moving up the ladder in the system after a strong showing in Class-A Advanced last season. Furthermore, he explained that he almost expected the Rockies to do so. “Who wouldn’t sign that guy with the numbers he’s put up?” Welker asked rhetorically, adding that he relishes the opportunity to learn from a player of Arenado’s caliber in Spring Training. As the Rox have done with third base prospects Tyler Nevin and Josh Fuentes (the latter of whom is Arenado’s cousin), they’ve begun to give Welker some looks at first base with an eye toward the future. “Colton knew going into this past offseason that first base was going to be a focus in 2019, regardless of what happened with Nolan,” director of player development Zach Wilson told Harding. A fourth-round pick back in 2016, Welker crushed Class-A Advanced pitching at a .333/.383/.489 clip in 2018.
- Minor league right-hander Jesus Tinoco will work as a reliever moving forward, manager Bud Black told reporters this morning (Twitter link via Saunders). The big righty, who was acquired in the trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays, struggled to the tune of a 4.79 ERA through 26 starts (141 innings) at the Double-A level last season and has yet to post an ERA south of 4.67 at any level in the Rockies organization. That said, Tinoco posted encouraging marks of 8.4 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 last season and pitched well in 10 relief appearances in the Arizona Fall League last season.