Black, Rockies talking contract extension

March 17th, 2024

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Bud Black and owner Dick Monfort acknowledged that they are discussing another contract extension to avoid going through 2024 in the last year of Black’s contract, but no deal has been reached.

Black, 66, took over the Rockies before the 2017 season under a three-year deal with a mutual 2020 option. In 2019, Black signed a three-year extension for 2020-22, and he signed extensions in 2022 and 2023 to avoid heading into his last contract year.

Black and Monfort declined interview requests, except to say that they are “talking.” Monfort indicated the priority has been preparing the Rockies for the regular season but said he wants an extension to happen. It isn’t clear whether the agreement can be reached before Opening Day.

In Black’s first two years with the Rockies, a talented group of young pitchers fueled postseason runs. The team slumped in the middle of 2019 and began a fall out of playoff contention that hasn’t been reversed.

The Rockies’ decision not to retain standout second baseman and clubhouse cog DJ LeMahieu going into ’19, the unhappiness of star third baseman Nolan Arenado that forced a trade before Spring Training in ’21, and injuries and poor performance from the pitching staff have been elements of a decline that led to the worst finish in club history (59-103) last year.

Even as the signs of rough times began showing, Black was adamant that he wanted to stay with the club and help find the solution.

Last season, Black managed a team that lost starting pitchers Germán Márquez and Antonio Senzatela to Tommy John surgeries and Ryan Feltner for much of the year because of a fractured skull. Colorado had trouble keeping oft-injured Kris Bryant on the field for the second straight year.

The Rockies started the year with rookie Ezequiel Tovar at shortstop, worked rookie outfielders Brenton Doyle and Nolan Jones into the daily lineup and dealt much of their veteran presence in favor of future pitching depth.

Black didn’t waver from his desire to continue the often-painful process, and he hasn’t blinked this year. The club’s Spring Training plan has been as much about judging the readiness of prospects as prepping for Opening Day.

Whether the lack of an extension going into the 2024 season can lead to distraction for the Rockies is anyone’s guess. Black previously managed the Padres from 2007-15. He was in the final year of his contract -- and working with a remade roster under new general manager A.J. Preller -- when he was ousted early in ’15.