Saturday, January 1, 2011

Unconfirmed Report: Gonzalez, Rockies Agree to Extension

It's still unconfirmed, but there are reports that the Rockies have agreed in principle on a seven year contract extension worth $78-80M with 25 year old outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. 

Rumors began flying out of Venezuela late yesterday when sources close to Gonzalez indicated that he was working on visa arrangements that would allow him to travel to Denver for an "emergency meeting."  While multiple Venezuelan reporters have dismissed the report as false, the rumor remains.  Tom Harding of was stonewalled for a confirmation by the Rockies front office.  Still, he was able to confirm that an offer has been on the table for several weeks.

I have to admit that I'm a bit skeptical--primarily due to the fact Gonzalez's agent is Scott Boras.  Very rarely does Boras agree to a contract that would buy out his client's arbitration seasons, plus a couple of free agent years.  I can't help but think that it might be smarter for Gonzalez to go year-to-year, and take his chances via the arbitration process.  In doing so, he would become a free agent two season earlier (at age 30 versus age 32), which should allow him to net a much bigger pay day.

On the Rockies end, I'm a bit confused.  I've already covered this in detail in another post, so I'll try to keep this brief.  First of all, Gonzalez won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2011 season.  It seems foolish to give up one of their three "reserve clause" seasons where they can set his salary at or near the league minimum without player recourse.  Secondly, Gonzalez is far from a sure thing at this point.  To date, his 6.3% career walk rate is far below the league average; his 2010 BABIP (.384) is unsustainable; and the quality of his defense is debatable.  It would be in the Rockies best interest to hold off for another season, while take a little bit of extra time to evaluate the talent they have in front of them.  If he shows improvement in his plate discipline and defense, they should strike quickly to sign him to an extension.  If he doesn't, it's probably best to let him go year-to-year, and allow him to leave via free agency after 2014.

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