The city of Denver can rest easy tonight. Their best player isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As of Tuesday morning, the Rockies and franchise third baseman Nolan Arenado were nearing an 8 year contract extension worth a reported $260M, a contract which would make him the highest paid position player ever based on a his $32.5M AAV (Average Annual Value). The contract details were first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Jeff Passan of ESPN.
While many people expected Arenado to wait until both Machado and Harper had signed to lay the groundwork of his own contract, Arenado apparently felt comfortable enough after the signing of Machado to finalize his own deal. Although the total valuation of his deal will be approximately $40M less than what Machado received, he will be making about $2.5M more per year.
The impact Arenado has on this team is beyond words. He has hit 158 home runs over his past 4 seasons, including 2 seasons of more than 40. Driven in at least 110 runs in all of those years, including 3 of 130+. And plays the best third base you’ve ever seen. While you can scream “Coors” all you want regarding his offense, just note that Arenado is the only member of the Rockies who has had more than one 30 home run season in the last 4 years. 4 other Rockies have had at least 30 (Gonzalez, Reynolds, Blackmon, Story), 3 of those crossed 35 (Gonzalez, Blackmon, Story), and only one other has hit 40 (Gonzalez). Even in a hitter’s heaven, Arenado is the most consistently great bat in the lineup.
The Rockies have a phenomenal core of players right now. With an offense consisting of Blackmon, Story, Dahl, Murphy, and Arenado, with Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, and Ryan McMahon all waiting for their shot, the Rockies have established themselves as a force in the National League for the first time in almost a decade. With a young rotation of Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, and Jon Gray being backed by a potent offense, this team has a real chance to build on and improve from its 2018 NLDS appearance.
Quite simply, Nolan Arenado is the best player the Rockies have ever had, and Colorado was smart for wanting to make sure he finishes his career with them. While Todd Helton currently owns the title of “Greatest Rockie” it’s only because Arenado hasn’t had the longevity needed to surpass him, but this deal almost ensures that he will.