D-backs officially announce Goldschmidt extension
First baseman ready to move on, focus on preparing for beginning of season
PHOENIX -- As he sat in front of the microphone waiting for start of the press conference to announce his contract extension, Paul Goldschmidt received a reminder from his wife in the front row.
"You can smile," she said.
It is not that Goldschmidt doesn't enjoy things, it's that he's always focused on how he can get better.
It's that kind of mindset that made the D-backs feel comfortable giving him a five-year, $32 million extension after just a year and two months in the big leagues.
"I wish we could mold 24 more of him," Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said. "What he embodies and the way he plays when it comes to preparation, attitude, selflessness."
Goldschmidt's deal will pay him a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $1 million in 2014, $3 million in 2015, $5.75 million in 2016, $8.75 million in 2017 and $11 million in 2018. There is a team option for 2019 for $14.5 million that includes a $2 million buyout.
"That stuff, everything that's gone on with this contract, honestly that's in the past now, and I'm looking forward to the start of the season and looking forward to making a playoff push and hopefully bring a championship here and continue to do that for as many years as they'll let me," Goldschmidt said.
The D-backs said they approached Goldschmidt about an extension this winter, but the 25-year-old wanted to hold off on it.
"It was never like any of the lines of communication were ever cut off," Goldschmidt said. "There wasn't any rush to do anything."
Goldschmidt, who hit .286 with 43 doubles, 20 homers and 82 RBIs last year, was quick to deflect attention to his teammates, especially when it was suggested to him that he might become the new face of the franchise.
"Especially with the team we have now, everyone is here for the right reasons, we're all in it for the team, we're looking forward to getting started," Goldschmidt said. "We've got a very talented team top to bottom."
Goldschmidt is another in a line of players the D-backs have made long-term commitments to over the last year.
Last summer, the D-backs gave catcher Miguel Montero a five-year, $60 million deal. Then during the offseason, second baseman Aaron Hill inked a three-year, $35 million extension and newly acquired Martin Prado was signed to a four-year, $40 million contract.
With their revenues on the rise and deferred player contracts off the books, the D-backs have made tying up certain players a priority. Managing general partner Ken Kendrick said that as more and more television money is made by teams, salaries are likely to rise. Acting now, he believes, will save the club money in the long run.
"He's a first-class person all the way through and I think that's one big asset he brings," Kendrick said of Goldschmidt. "Obviously, he brings ability too, but character is pretty important to us the way we want this organization to run. It's been a plan for a while to put a core group together that we could believe in, and they could play well together and grow together. We think we have that."
Increased expectations typically come with deals like this, but it's hard to imagine they are higher than the ones Goldschmidt puts on himself.
"I think each player puts a lot of pressure on themselves. Maybe not pressure, but they have high expectations and there's always distractions you've got to deal with and that's part of it, but I'm excited that we got this done," Goldschmidt said. "Especially before the start of the year, and now it just makes it so it's one less thing to worry about and [I can] just go out there and worry about playing baseball and trying to help the team win."
Once that's done, then he can get around to smiling.