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Ezequiel Tovar agrees to seven-year, $63.5 million extension with Rockies, source says

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ezequiel Tovar, the Rockies’ promising young shortstop of the present, has been locked up for the future.

Tovar, 22, a Gold Glove finalist as a rookie last season, has agreed to a seven-year, $63.5 million contract extension, a major league source confirmed Sunday. El ExtraBase first reported the news and the terms of the contract.

Tovar’s new contract is still pending the completion of a physical, and the Rockies have not announced the deal. The contract would keep Tovar in a Rockies uniform through 2030 and includes a club option in 2031 that would boost the contract’s total value to $84 million.

Tovar, from Maracay, Venezuela, led the Rockies with 153 games played last season, slashing .253/.287/.408 with 15 home runs, 37 doubles, four triples, 73 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. His 37 doubles were tied with Hall of Famer Todd Helton (1998) for the most by a rookie in franchise history. His 73 RBIs were the fourth-most by a rookie in franchise history, trailing only Troy Tulowitzki (99, 2007), Helton (97, 1998) and Garrett Atkins (89, 2005).

Tovar finished the season with 13 defensive runs saved, the fourth-most among major league shortstops and ranking second in the National League.

“There are certain players on the field who have a presence and a leadership personality on the field,” manager Bud Black said earlier this spring. “My first couple of years here, I think Nolan (Arenado) had that. Tovar doesn’t have to be that guy just because he’s a shortstop, but I’ll tell you what, in the coming years, and it could come as soon as this year, he could get that kind of respect.

“He’s still a young player and he only has one year of service time, but he’s getting that clubhouse respect. I think that’s cool to see him get that from the younger guys and even some of the older guys. It’s because of who he is, his character, his integrity and how he plays the game.”

Veteran left-hander Kyle Freeland said he saw Tovar grow tremendously as a rookie.

“What I saw last year was a young player becoming comfortable in the shoes he belongs in,” Freeland said. “I would say early on last year, he was a little timid. I wouldn’t say scared, but that was a lot of weight to carry as a 21-year-old kid.

“Once he realized that everybody on the team believed in him, including the coaching staff, he relaxed. Once he knew that, ‘Hey, you’re our shortstop and our leader in the infield,’ he embraced that role. That allowed him to do his thing.”

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