CarGo pleased with Rockies entering contract year

With trade rumors in past, outfielder focused on 2017

CarGo pleased with Rockies entering contract year

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Thursday morning was a repeat of the last several years. Star right fielder Carlos Gonzalez showed up at Rockies camp, and it wasn't long before he was asked if the team is going to trade him. But this year is different.

If a long-rumored trade once again doesn't materialize, Gonzalez's contract will be up at season's end, and the choice will be his. And he just might decide to stick around.

A three-time All-Star, Gonzalez and the Rockies have publicly broached the idea of an extension. There is no indication of substantive talks with Gonzalez's agent, Scott Boras. But since Jeff Bridich took over as general manager after the 2014 season, he and Gonzalez have shared nothing but admiration in public pronouncements.

Gonzalez added more plaudits when asked if various offseason reinforcements could make him more likely to re-sign.

"I mean, it's already playing a part," Gonzalez said. "Jeff and I already talked about it last year, about the future and all of that stuff. And I said, 'Listen, man, what I'm seeing, I like it. There's a lot of young talent here, there's a lot of neat players. I feel like they are going to take that big step, and then give us an opportunity to compete and give us a smile on every face.'

"I told Bridich, that's what I am looking for, I am looking for that more than anything else."

Outlook: Gonzalez, RF, COL

Gonzalez could be marketable if he continues his performances of the last two seasons. He has posted an .859 OPS since the start of 2015, with 65 home runs, 67 doubles, 174 runs scored and 197 RBIs.

Whether Gonzalez signs an extension with the Rockies -- now, or later -- or a contract elsewhere, the deal could be lucrative.

"You know what's going to happen tomorrow?" Gonzalez said. "I don't know. I might sign an extension, or maybe I won't, but I take it day-by-day now, and I'm excited for this journey.

"I am still here and I'm happy, and I'm still wearing the Rockies' uniform. For me, that's already a win, you know?"

Top 10 Right Now: Gonzalez

Last year, former Rockies manager Walt Weiss suggested that Gonzalez begin work at first base to help extend his career. After two healthy seasons, it's less of an issue -- plus, Ian Desmond signed to play first base under a five-year, $70 million contract.

Still, at home in Orlando this offseason, Gonzalez worked out some at first base because Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon needed someone to catch their throws. Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, who was running the sessions, gave Gonzalez some pointers.

Gonzalez said it was fun -- for a while.

"I'm a right fielder," Gonzalez said. "I would catch ground balls with them, but at the end, the closer we got to Spring Training, I was like, 'You know what, I'm tired of this. I'm not catching ground balls anymore.'"

Gonzalez is back in right field, where he believes he belongs. And he's still with the Rockies, for now.

Worth noting

• Rockies manager Bud Black dismissed an idea that has been floated in some circles -- switching center fielder Charlie Blackmon to left field. Black likes Blackmon's experience and leadership, and says Coors Field requires a left fielder with center-field range.

Mark Reynolds, who started at first base last year but is in camp under a Minor League contract, will get some time at third base while Nolan Arenado is at the World Baseball Classic with Team USA, and will have some "practice time" at the outfield corners, Black said.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.