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Who would have thought that the best thing Matt Holliday could have done for the Colorado Rockies would be to leave?
One of the guys who came over in that deal just so happened to be Carlos Gonzalez. At the time of the deal, Gonzalez was a 22-year-old player who had lost his prospect status after being given up on by the Diamondbacks and written off by the Athletics.
To say that Gonzalez blossomed in a Rockies uniform would be a huge understatement.
On Monday, Gonzalez's publicist confirmed that the five-tool player is on the brink of signing a seven-year, $80 million extension with the Rockies.
The move completes an offseason in which the Rockies locked up All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki through 2020, re-signed Jorge De La Rosa for at least two more seasons, and now signed perhaps the most talented player to wear purple pinstripes well into his free-agent years.
For years, fans, experts and writers have been crying about the Rockies front office not caring about winning. They were accused of being cheap, they were begged to sell the team and they were crucified for not going after big-name free agents.
Even after signing their young stars to deals that kept them in Colorado for the greater part of their young years, the Rockies front office was criticized for hanging on to prospects when they could have been dealt for proven major league talent.
Rockies' fans are certainly happy that Rockies' owners Dick and Charlie Monfort didn't read the newspapers or listen to the crying fans.
If nothing else, fans of the team at Coors Field have learned one thing in this offseason. The Rockies front office not only cares about winning, but they are actively pursuing putting a winning team on the field not just for one year but for years to come.
It is a good time to be a Rockies fan. The club has ignored what many medium-market teams have embraced. Instead of rolling over and trading away their young players when it comes time to pay them, Colorado has put together a model that gives fans the best shot possible of seeing their heroes in a Rockies uniform for as long as possible.
Don't be surprised to see the likes of Mark Kiszla and Woody Paige lauding the owners for finally listening to them and their thoughts for what the team should do. Of course, those who have followed this team and those writers will know that this was far from their game plan. Those writers were the most critical towards the owners, driving the majority of the rage towards the front office, who clearly had their long-term plan into place.
In a sports world where it seems that every single player is seeking top dollar, the Rockies have proven that there are a few exceptions.
The thought of signing Gonzalez long-term was essentially something that was written off long ago. Gonzalez is represented by super-agent Scott Boras. Everyone who follows the sport knows that Boras simply does not negotiate deals that take his clients, especially his superstar clients, into their free-agency years. It was widely accepted that Gonzalez was essentially a rental player that the Rockies would have for three, maybe four more years until he would be used as bait for what would hopefully be the next Gonzalez.
Instead, Gonzalez proved common sense incorrect. He most likely spurned the advice of his agent and made a decision on his own to stay in a place where he is comfortable and in a clubhouse that he enjoys. In the process, he potentially cost himself millions upon millions of dollars.
It is a good time to be a fan of the Colorado Rockies. Not only has the front office proved that they are not just interested in winning, but intent on winning, but players are recognizing Coors Field as a place to call home, not a place that is a launching pad for their career in a bigger market.
The plan that was put into place years ago was painful to watch unfold, but the pain of losing for all of those years makes the other side of the plan that much more fun to be a part of.