DENVER -- Although they didn't plan to sign any of their arbitration-eligible players for more than one year, the Rockies agreed to a two-year deal with right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin and would be willing to consider a multiyear contract with outfielder Dexter Fowler. Sources with knowledge of the team's position said Monday that the Rockies are willing to go more than one year with Fowler, their only arbitration-eligible player who hasn't reached an agreement, if his representatives can come up with a proposal to the club's liking. Under the figures that were traded as part of the arbitration process, Fowler is seeking $5.15 million and the team is offering $4.25 million. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 4-20.
Fowler was a Super Two player last year, meaning he was one of a limited number of players who entered arbitration eligibility with fewer than three years' service time. That means he has four years of arbitration instead of the normal three. Chacin is in his first year, and his two-year, $6.5 million agreement -- which will become official depending on the outcome of his physical on Monday -- left him with one year of arbitration. Fowler has many options -- going year to year, working out a two-year deal that would leave a year of arbitration before he is eligible to become a free agent or even going further. Fowler, who turns 27 on March 22, appears to be a player on the rise. He established career bests for batting average (.300), on-base percentage (.389) and slugging percentage (.474) during the 2012 season. The Rockies were willing to listen to trade proposals for Fowler this winter, but they established a steep price -- a proven starter with a low walk rate and high groundball-to-flyball ratio, and a young, impact hitter. Talks with interested clubs have not gained traction. The Rockies' asking price was similar to what they received from the Athletics for outfielder Matt Holliday before the 2009 season. At that time they needed a closer and received Huston Street, and the impact hitter was eventual National League batting champ and All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.
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.