Arenado won't set hard deadline on negotiations

Rockies' star scheduled to hit free agency after season

February 14th, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies third baseman said Thursday he won't make Opening Day a hard deadline for negotiations on a possible multiyear contract.

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The start of the season has always been assumed as something of a deadline, since Arenado has not wanted any contract talks to bleed into the regular season. But entering the final season of his current contract, the Rockies' star third baseman doesn't want that to interfere with talks between the club and his agent, Joel Wolfe.

After signing Arenado to a one-year, $26 million deal, a record via the arbitration process, the Rockies want to sign him rather than have him explore free agency at season's end.

"I'm not going to sit here and say there is a deadline," Arenado said. "As a collective group between me, my agent and the Rockies, I think we're going to have a quiet deadline. There's a time and place to focus on ball. They have a job to do, too. They're trying to help us win games, also. I think they're more worried on helping us win games than trying to get this contract done at a certain time.

"When serious games start, there'll probably be a silent deadline. I'm not sure. But at the end of the day, I'm open to anything. It's been fine. There's no hard feelings. We can talk whenever."

Arenado's talks are against the backdrop of Spring Training beginning with many free agents -- including the top two players on the market, outfielder and infielder -- still seeking contracts. With six Gold Glove Awards, three National League home run titles and a club that has qualified for the postseason for two straight years, Arenado has a chance to sign a lucrative contract and avoid dealing with open-market uncertainty.

The declaration that he isn't holding the club to a rigid deadline is Arenado's way of not increasing stress on either side. He cited teammate , who signed his six-year, $108 million contract during the first week of the 2018 regular season. Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort recently spoke glowingly of how negotiations went for Arenado's latest one-year deal and was positive about the chances of completing the multiyear agreement. Arenado agreed with the positive assessment.

• Monfort optimistic about long-term Arenado deal

"My agent is taking care of that, but it's been very, very honest, very clean, very easy, very respectful on both sides," Arenado said. "The Rockies have been great about it. But if it gets done, if it doesn't get done, it doesn't mean it's over, essentially. People think just because things get done before games start, it's over. That's not how things work.

"Charlie signed the deal in the season, so anything can happen. But it's been super respectful on both sides. It's been great. They've treated me right for a while now, and they've always treated me right."

Arenado, who turns 28 on April 16, has been at Rockies camp for several days, even though position players aren't due to report until Sunday. He has been doing fielding drills and taking batting practice while leaving contract talks to others.

"It's not in the way of what I'm trying to get done, either," Arenado said. "I've got more important things to worry about, which is trying to hit a baseball, fielding ground balls and making the throws and staying healthy. They're the things I'm focused on this year. They're way more important."