GREELEY, Colo. -- Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort expressed optimism that the team can reach a multi-year contract with third baseman Nolan Arenado, beyond the one-year, $26 million agreement that was finalized Thursday.
"I think we've gotten it to the point where we're to the finals," Monfort said. "We're to the crescendo."
Monfort didn't reveal the years or dollars the club has in mind, and he was careful not to say anything to box in Arenado or his agent, Joel Wolfe. Monfort even said he told Arenado that if he chooses to explore free agency after the season, "it's not going to change my feeling on him -- I love Nolan."
But Monfort is confident the Rockies can work a deal where they won't have to love the All-Star third baseman while he's wearing another jersey.
Prior to arbitration, Arenado requested $30 million and the Rockies countered with $24 million. The deal -- negotiated after Monfort and general manager Jeff Bridich visiting Arenado and Wolfe in California -- came together on Thursday, the day before arbitration hearings began around baseball.
Monfort said he includes the Rockies among teams with a "file and trial" strategy, meaning that if the club and player can't reach an agreement before the deadline to file salary figures, then the club will cut off negotiations and head to an arbitration hearing.
But recent actions prove that the Rockies will compromise, in special cases. In 2016, the team and second baseman DJ LeMahieu reached a two-year deal just before a hearing was to begin. The negotiations with Arenado were another special case.
"It was important to Nolan, and as it turned out, it was important to me," Monfort said. "In these deals, everybody sort of guesses what the other side is going to do. Why this, that or whatever. It sort of put to rest on both sides that we want Nolan and Nolan wants to be with us. So that's probably half the battle.
"I felt really good about it. Jeff and I got a text from Nolan and Joel, and they felt good about it."
Monfort, who spoke at the annual Friends of Baseball Breakfast to raise money for baseball participation in his hometown of Greeley, Colo., believes that the Rockies' revenue and payroll model can sustain a larger deal for Arenado.
Sportrac projects the Rockies' payroll at slightly over $140 million, the 11th-highest in MLB. And Monfort revealed that the Rockies are in better shape than has been believed when it comes to TV revenue.
Fangraphs tracks and ranks the 29 U.S. teams by estimated TV revenue (based on average annual value), which can be difficult to obtain. The site's 2016 ranking had the Rockies tied for last at $20 million annually in their deal with AT&T Sportsnet; one of the teams in that tie (the Rays) recently signed a more lucrative deal.
But Monfort said that figure was "old news," and that the current annual figure has increased to $40 million, with two more seasons left on the contract. Monfort expects negotiations on a new deal to begin this summer, with the possibility of televising more than the current 150 games annually.
At any rate, Monfort said the team's various revenue streams and its salary structure can accommodate a deal like the one the Rockies want to complete with Arenado. The "X" factor is the overall market, with star players like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still looking for lucrative, multi-year deals into February. Still, Monfort is optimistic.
"I'm comfortable that we can get a number that we can get to," Monfort said. "There are a lot of things that have to go through Nolan's mind, too. But I'm confident that after we met, Nolan wants this to happen as much as we do."