Understandably, the first reaction many fans and followers of the Colorado Rockies had when the club’s two-year deal with Nolan Arenado was announced on Friday was, “why not longer?” Though Arenado remains under team control through 2019, the Rockies chose to offer a contract that will buy up two years of arbitration at $29.5 million total, potentially saving the club some money as it enters what appears to be a contention period.
That leaves Arenado’s final arbitration year without a monetary amount attached to it, and doesn’t yet guarantee a future for the star in Denver beyond that. But the 25-year-old third baseman isn’t concerned about a longer-term deal for now.
“That hasn't been a topic, as it shouldn't right now,” Arenado told Purple Row. “We're focused on winning, and that's OK. As long as we're focused on winning, I'm not worried about my long term deal.”
The Rockies will pay Arenado $11.75 million in 2017 and $17.75 million next year. His projected arbitration raise for this year before the new deal, according to MLB Trade Rumors, was $13.1 million. Based on his performance over the last two seasons, combined with the fact that he made only $5 million in 2016, Arenado could’ve easily netted upwards of $20 million in arbitration next year. The deal should allow the Rockies to allocate funds to other areas of need during what could be a contention window, and that’s completely kosher with the four-time Gold Glove winner.
“I think the focus is on pitching, as it should be,” Arenado said. “I'm going to be here for another three years. The concern now is bettering the team in different categories.”
Arenado’s potential interest in staying with the Rockies beyond that will, in all likelihood, depend on the team’s ability to win games. The good news is that he believes Colorado is ready to do that now.
“I don't know the other stuff that’s going on, but I like our team,” Arenado said when asked about the team adding Mike Dunn and Ian Desmond, in addition to other moves that could be in the works. “I think we're good no matter what. I think we have the talent. We have some young guys who are getting better. We have a rotation now—a solidifed rotation, which is really nice.”
“We’ve got to get better and we’ve got to keep growing,” Arenado continued. “But it feels good knowing we’re trying to win.”