Signed long term, Freeland a believer in Rockies' plan

April 20th, 2022

DENVER -- After a good and happy night’s sleep, Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland talked Wednesday morning about his new five-year, $64.5 million contract extension.

The deal was announced Tuesday, hours before he held the Phillies to two runs across six innings of the Rockies’ eventual 6-5 victory. Signing a life-changing contract, which went public right before facing a power-hitting Phillies lineup? No wonder he needed to wait a day to collect his thoughts.

Here are five of them:

1) Freeland's mind was racing before Tuesday night's game.

“I kind of fought with that idea,” the southpaw said. “Ultimately, I ended up telling myself that this is such a great thing. I get to relax, focus on pitching. I don’t have to worry about a thing, and just truly focus on my team and try to leave them in a great position to win a ballgame.”

2) Freeland is a Denver native (Thomas Jefferson High School) who grew up loving the Rockies. But this was a negotiation, so sure it could have ended different.

“Those thoughts definitely cross your mind,” he said. “But ultimately for me -- and my wife helped me out at the time with this decision -- I looked around this clubhouse two starts ago. I was sitting at my locker and I saw a lot of my teammates in there and I'm like, ‘You know what? These are guys that I love doing battle with, that I want to continue to go to battle with.’ I love hanging out. I love coming to the ballpark and spending time with them. And that goes, you know, top to bottom, with the players, with the training staff, strength coaches, coaches and front office.

“When I told my wife [Ashley] that a week or so ago, she was like, ‘I’m gonna stop you right there. That's your answer.’”

3) Third baseman Ryan McMahon signing a five-year, $70 million extension during Spring Training -- after left fielder Kris Bryant’s seven-year, $182 million deal in free agency -- helped sell him on the plan of owner Dick Monfort and general manager Bill Schmidt.

“They figured into it quite a bit,” Freeland said. “With Mac signing, I truly started to see everything shaping the way we want it, with Bill’s vision, with Dick’s vision and our front office. 

“Obviously, Kris Bryant’s signing was massive and signing [pitcher Antonio] Senzatela last year. Those pieces started falling into place. I was starting to see the big picture, and it was something I wanted to buy into.”

4) Freeland expects the rotation -- which centers on himself, Senzatela and pitcher Germán Márquez (who signed a multi-year deal in 2019) -- to work.

“Look at the group of guys that we have right now,” he said. “A strong core group of us have been together for a long time and are sticking together for the next handful of years. So that there shows that we’re bought into winning, we’re bought into getting to the playoffs, winning in the playoffs and ultimately winning a World Series for the Colorado Rockies.”

5) He is living his dream. Where will it take him?

“It’s something I'll be able to start thinking about -- the kind of impact that I want to leave on and off the field, here in Colorado,” Freeland said. “Whether it’s helping Special Olympics or the numbers that I do for my career statistics, those are things that, you know, I'm gonna just sit down and think about, find out what I really want to accomplish.”