DENVER — For all the talk, the speculation and the boys of summer creating wonder, no urgency existed for Nolan Arenado's camp to secure a longterm contract until Manny Machado signed.
The free agent freeze began to thaw Tuesday with Manny Machado agreeing in principle to a 10-year, $300-million deal with the Padres, according to multiple reports. Contracts rely on comparables. Now, Arenado has someone with similar credentials to frame a conversation and parameters. Denver7's Alison Mastrangelo caught up with Arenado at Salt River Fields for his reaction on the 26-year-old Machado leaving the Dodgers to remain in the National League West with the suddenly-flush Padres.
Here’s #Rockies Nolan Arenado reaction to Manny Machado’s 10 year, 300 million deal with the Padres. I also asked him if he’d like to see a long contract like that. @DenverChannel #mlb pic.twitter.com/yDCcBiQXRw— Alison Mastrangelo (@AlisonM_TV) February 19, 2019
"Manny? I did hear. I am very happy for him. I think it's personally good for baseball. He's a very good player, a young player," Arenado said Tuesday. "He can really jumpstart an organization, which the Padres are trying to do. I think it can be a very good move for him."
But what about Nolan? Would he like a 10-year deal?
"Personally, I mean I am 27. That means I would play until I am 37. I don't know," Arenado said with a smile. "I don't know if teams are going to be giving that away for me. But, I don't know. I want to play baseball as long as I can. It's a whole different story as you get older. I am a little bit older than Manny, so..."
MLB Network recently ranked Arenado as the game's third best player. He has a strong argument as the top player in the National League. And while he's older than Machado, he remains on a Hall of Fame track, and could go down as the best third baseman ever. He has won six Gold Gloves and finished in the top eight of the NL MVP voting the past four seasons.
The Rockies have had dialogue with Arenado's agent Joel Wolfe this offseason, and it helped lead to a $26-million, one-year deal to avoid arbitration. The sides described the talks in positive terms or "clean," as Arenado put it. Arenado, who said he would negotiate into the season if necessary, enjoys playing in Colorado, and his desire to stay was helped by the Rockies' run of a success -- posting back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in franchise history. He could ask for more than Machado with a straight face -- or, at the very least, more per season if on a shorter deal.
He is not annoyed by the talk about his uncertain future. He, after all, is in a great spot based on how he has performed.
"Honestly, I am very fortunate. I have worked hard to be in this position," said Arenado, who hit 38 home runs with a .374 on-base percentage last season. "I feel like I am going to say the same thing if you guys want to keep asking. But it comes with the territory. I talk to my agent. I told him, 'Give me like two weeks to play ball, then we will talk again.' That's how we talk. I talked with him recently, and I said I wanted to play baseball, play some games, then we can revisit it."
Those talks contain substance. Arenado views his situation from multiple sides: his, the team's, and the side of his fellow players.
"It's everything. We talk to the players association. It's a brotherhood, so you have to do what's right by the team and obviously what's right by yourself. You can't do things that are going to hurt the market," Arenado admitted. "You have to communicate and find out what's going on. You talk about the money, the living, places I have lived before. I said this yesterday, your mind is always wondering what else is out there. I can't help that as a human, as a person. I am in this position, I don't know what's out there. Part of me wants to find out, but part of me wants to be the best Rockies player of all time."