Katie Woo of The Athletic reports that superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado has informed the Cardinals he will be opting into the remainder of his contract. Arenado, who slashed .293/.358/.533 in a 2022 campaign that left him in line to receive consideration for the NL MVP award, will make $144 million over the next five years and lock up the hot corner in St. Louis through the end of the 2027 season.
This registers as something of a surprise given Arenado’s MVP caliber 2022. While he’ll play next season at age 32, potentially limiting his odds of adding much in the way of years to his current pact, it’s easy to see how he could have surpassed the average annual value he is currently set to receive; notably, fellow third baseman Anthony Rendon managed to secure an AAV of $35MM in his seven year, $245MM contract he signed with the Angels prior to the 2020 season, while Freddie Freeman’s six year, $162MM pact with the Dodgers last offseason exceeds Arenado’s current deal in terms of both years and total value. That being said, Arenado’s comfort in St. Louis and desire to stay long term has been widely reported, so the fact that Arenado will remain in St. Louis isn’t too shocking.
As The Athletic’s Nick Groke mentions, Arenado opting into his contract means that the payment plan the Rockies and Cardinals agreed to at the time of the blockbuster agreement that sent Arenado to St. Louis in exchange for a package including Austin Gomber and four prospects prior to the 2021 season will continue. The payment plan has Colorado set to pay $31.5 million to the Cardinals going forward, including $16 million next season, a price higher than any salary on the Rockies payroll in 2023 except for that of Kris Bryant.
More to come…
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