SAN DIEGO (97.3 The Fan) -- Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black joined "The Dan Sileo Show" on Tuesday to talk about the upcoming season, and Black dropped some news about the team's momentum toward signing star third basemen Nolan Arenado to a contract extension.
Arenado is signed for $26 million for the 2019 season, after which he can become a free agent. Arenado, a 27-year-old slugger with six Gold Glove awards and four straight All-Star appearances, could command a gigantic contract.
"The Rockies love Nolan, and Nolan loves what's happened from the time he was drafted to where he is now with the Rockies and hopefully where we're headed," Black said. "I think we're all optimistic that something can get worked out. You know, I don't know whether it's next week, next month, or during the season, but I'm thinking very optimistically on this one."
Being able to keep Arenado off the open market would be a coup for a relatively small-market team like the Colorado Rockies. Smaller markets being able to keep their star players has been an issue not just in baseball with the likes of Manny Machado, but also in the NBA with players such as Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Black, the former San Diego Padres manager, compared Arenado to two Hall of Fame third basemen: George Brett and Mike Schmidt.
"I saw George up close and personal for eight seasons, and he's a dear friend," said Black, who was teammates with Brett on the Kansas City Royals. "I saw Schmidt from back before interleague play, so I had to watch him through the lens of spring training and television, but those two fellas in the '70s and '80s were great third basemen, to your point.
"Nolan is headed that way. He can do it all. He's probably better than those two defensively. Offensively, he's got some years ahead of him to do what they've done, but like Mike and George, he's got a passion to play, a passion to work, a love of the game. They're baseball rats. They love being at the ballpark."
Coming off a season in which his team reached the playoffs (they were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series), Black expressed his excitement to see some of the organization's young talent show what they can do during spring training.
"I think that's the case with a lot of clubs," he said. "You've got to infuse new blood and give those guys opportunities. We're going to do that with a few guys for sure."