HomeMLB RumorsRockies To Extend Ezequiel Tovar

Rockies To Extend Ezequiel Tovar

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The Rockies and shortstop Ezequiel Tovar have agreed to a long-term contract extension that will run through at least the 2030 season. The 22-year-old Tovar will earn $63.5MM over the seven guaranteed years of the deal, and the Rockies hold a $20.5MM club option on his services for the 2031 season. Tovar is represented by the Rimas Sports Agency, and the extension will be official once the shortstop passes a physical.

Tovar was already under club control through the end of the 2028 season, and this next extension will now add at least two and maybe three more years to his time in Colorado. Due to Tovar’s young age, he’ll still be in his prime when eligible for free agency, as he’ll either be 29 or 30 years old at the end of the deal depending on whether or not the Rox exercise their club option.

Tovar entered the 2023 season as a consensus top-25 prospect in the sport. The youngster made the club’s Opening Day roster as the starting shortstop last year but got off to a difficult start before heating up towards the end of April. Tovar managed to carry that hot streak into the All Star break, hitting a solid .283/.314/.479 with nine home runs during that 65 game stretch. Unfortunately, however, Tovar struggled in the second half and hit a paltry .246/.277/.386 the rest of the way. While Tovar’s 66 extra-base hits hinted at real power potential, the youngster struck out in 27% of his trips to the plate while walking just 4.1% of the time. That undisciplined approach left him with a wRC+ of just 70, 30% below league average and fourth-worst among all qualified hitters in the majors last year.

Difficult as Tovar’s rookie season may have been, his age and prospect pedigree make it easy to imagine him finding another gear offensively in the coming years, and his glove is already nothing short of elite. Tovar’s defense at shortstop was worth a whopping 16 Outs Above Average last year, which ranks in the 99th percentile of all MLB fielders per Statcast. Fielding Bible’s Defensive Runs Saved was similarly impressed with Tovar’s work in the field, as his +12 DRS ranked behind only Anthony Volpe, Wander Franco, and Dansby Swanson among major league shortstops last year.

Glovework of that caliber can be a carrying tool that allows players to remain productive overall in the majors leagues even if they struggle at the plate. That’s particularly true at shortstop, where strong defensive players can put together star-level production with even average offensive contributions. For the Rockies, that leaves this deal as a somewhat less risky arrangement than it might seem on the surface; after all, the deal is somewhat similar to the eight-year, $70MM pact the Pirates and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes agreed to on the heels of a 2021 campaign that saw Hayes post a 85 wRC+ in 96 games. That deal maxes out at $82MM over nine years if Pittsburgh exercises its club option, a similar commitment to the $84MM over eight years Tovar will earn if his club option is exercised by the Rockies.

For Tovar, meanwhile, the deal locks in life-changing money while still affording him the opportunity to hit the open market in his prime. Of course, in signing the deal he also forgoes the opportunity to hit free agency in his mid-20s, a route which has led other players such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to massive paydays worth $300MM or more. On the other hand, Tovar would surely have to break out and become at least an above-average hitter in the majors to command a deal of that sort of caliber. While such an improvement with the bat can’t be ruled out, it’s certainly understandable for the 22-year-old to prioritize financial security, particularly on a deal that will still offer him a second bite of the apple following his age-29 season.

With Tovar now locked up for at least the next seven seasons, the Rockies have now set into place a clear building block for the club’s future. On the heels of the first 100-loss season in franchise history, the club spent cautiously in free agency with short-term agreements for players such as Daniel Hudson, Cal Quantrill, and Charlie Blackmon. That approach leaves little optimism for a 2024 club that appears to be buried behind four highly competitive teams in the NL West. Even so, with Tovar and another emerging youngster in Nolan Jones under long-term team control and a farm system rife with exciting prospects like Amael Amador and Chase Dollander, it’s certainly possible that brighter days lie ahead for the Rockies. With the club’s longest extension since the one afforded to Nolan Arenado prior to the 2019 season now in place, Tovar is now all but certain to be a major part of that future.

Daniel Alvarez-Montes of El Extrabase. first reported the extension, the seven-year term, and the total value of the contract if the club option is exercised. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. reported the extension’s $63.5MM value over the seven guaranteed years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

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