"It's not at all finalized. But everything is practically concluded. All that's left are the physical evaluations," Gonzalez told Meridiano Television in an interview that was translated and reported by the Associated Press.
"It's a blessing for me to have this contract at such a young age," he added.
The Rockies are not confirming the agreement and won't until it becomes final. A club source did confirm that an offer was made recently to Gonzalez, and sources with knowledge of the negotiations have confirmed the length and total dollars. According to a story last week in El Nacional in Caracas, Venezuela, Gonzalez has been planning to come to Denver on Friday for a physical.
Fabiola Bohorquez, who has been handling Gonzalez's media requests in Venezuela and has established a Twitter account, announced through a series of tweets that Gonzalez has reached the agreement. Gonzalez's U.S.-based agent, Scott Boras, sent a text to ESPN.com saying that the information didn't go to Gonzalez and that negotiations were continuing. But Gonzalez, interviewed during a Venezuelan Winter League game, left no doubt that he liked the deal and intended to sign it.
The contract, which runs through 2017, comes after a breakout season that saw Gonzalez lead the National League with a .336 batting average, with 34 home runs and 117 RBIs, and earn third place in NL Most Valuable Player voting. The Rockies approached him after signing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a seven-year, $134 million extension that will keep him with the club through 2020.
Should all go as planned, the signing of Gonzalez will be another step in what has been a big offseason of locking up key players for the Rockies. They also re-signed left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a two-year, $21.5 million contract that has a player option worth another $11 million for 2013. A club option for 2014 could take the total to $43 million.
If Gonzalez signs, the Rockies will have one more young star to lock up. Ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who set club records with 19 wins and 214 strikeouts in 2010, has two years left on a four-year, $10 million contract. The Rockies told him at the time of the Tulowitzki signing that they'd like to sign him to a more lucrative deal.
Without his pending deal, Gonzalez could become a free agent after the 2014 or 2015 season, depending on whether he becomes arbitration-eligible after 2011 or 2012. By signing for seven years, he will delay free agency until after 2017. If he hits the market at that time, he will be only 32, still in position for another lucrative deal should he choose to test the market.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less