Arenado: Manny deal 'really good for baseball'
Rockies third baseman is in ongoing negotiations for long-term contract
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The baseball field is Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado's refuge from contract talks. But Tuesday's breaking news -- Manny Machado's 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres -- made its way onto the field.
But Arenado was fine with it.
"I'm just trying to hit the ball well -- that's where my mind was when I was hearing it," Arenado said. "I'm going to hear about it a little bit, and that's OK."
:: Manny Machado's deal with Padres ::
Arenado avoided arbitration last month by agreeing to a one-year, $26 million contract with the Rockies, and he and the club are negotiating toward a multi-year contract. But the free agency of Machado, a third baseman and shortstop who is more than a year younger and somewhere around Arenado's star level, likely figured somewhere in the timing of the Arenado-Rockies talks.
Arenado said he told his agent, Joel Wolfe, "Give me, like, two weeks to go play ball," so he could get into the Spring Training swing. So his mind has been away from contract talks.
"I don't think he [Machado] has too much of an effect on me, I'm not sure," Arenado said. "I just know that I'm happy he signed. I think it's really good for baseball, a well-deserved contract. We need these guys signed and we need these guys playing ball.
"I don't know if it has an effect on me. He's a little bit younger. Those things are a little bit different and teams look at things a little bit different because of that stuff. But he's a good player."
Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich was unavailable Tuesday. The club announced earlier in the day that Bridich was ill, and would not be participating in a media availability for Cactus League managers and GMs.
Arenado turns 28 on April 16. Machado turns 27 on July 26. Contracts tend to skew higher toward the younger player. Also, Machado signed his on the free-agent market, after playing with the Orioles and Dodgers last year, while the Rockies are trying to sign Arenado before other teams can bid.
The Padres' deal and Machado once again competing in the National League West surprised Arenado. Machado was born and raised in the Miami area.
"Hearing the rumors that [the Padres were] a team that was in, I guess you could see that as a possibility," Arenado said. "Being an East Coast kid, I didn't think he'd come all the way out to the West Coast.
"But the Padres are pretty good. They've got some pretty good players over there with Hos [Eric Hosmer] and [Manuel] Margot and some of their starters, and I heard they've got some really good prospects. So I guess they're going to be good in the future. It could be a good move."
Arenado said last week there isn't a firm deadline on contract talks. On Tuesday he outlined the considerations beyond just him.
Arenado's negotiations come against the backdrop of Machado not reaching a deal until after many teams had begun full-squad workouts. Outfielder Bryce Harper, another top free agent, is still unsigned, and scores of other players without big names are looking for jobs.
"You think about baseball, you think about the group, and you're setting a standard for the guys around you," Arenado said. "You definitely think about the players. That's why we communicate with the Players Association about a lot of things, because you need to understand what's good for the players and what's not."
Arenado said his talks with Wolfe and with the MLB Players Association are wide-ranging as he makes his decisions.
"You talk about the money, you talk about living -- places I've lived before, like I've lived in Denver," he said. "I said this yesterday. You can't help but your mind always wondering what's out there. I can't help that as a human and as a person.
"Hey, I'm in this position. I don't know what it's like out there. Part of me wants to find out, but part of me is like, 'Hey, man, I want to be one of the best Rockies players of all time.' So those are things I think about."