Nolan Arenado is about to start getting much more expensive.
The Rockies' star third baseman, coming off of a 6 WAR season, could see his salary increase by more than $6 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors' arbitration projections. Arenado, who has 2.155 years (meaning two years, 155 days) of service time under his belt, will likely surpass the Super Two cutoff, which is estimated by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes to be right around 2.130.
Arenado, who took home National League Player of the Month honors for September after hitting .336/.364/.703 with 12 homers, 11 doubles and 35 runs batted in. Arenado finished 2015 tied for the NL lead in home runs with 42 and led the circuit with 130 RBI while hitting .287/.323/.575 overall. In addition to becoming MLB's all-time single-season leader for extra-base hits as a third baseman (89), Arenado led the league in defensive runs saved at the position, likely making himself the front runner for a third consecutive Gold Glove award.
In short, the increased pay Arenado is about to receive is pretty much inconsequential, given that a case could be made that he should just have a blank check presented to him anyway.
Of the Rockies' 10 projected arbitration-eligible players, Arenado's estimated 2016 salary of $6.6 million is the highest. But he has some competition.
John Axford, who signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Rockies prior to the 2015 season, is projected to earn $6.5 million via arbitration next season. If that's the case, the Rockies -- should they be interested in retaining the closer -- would be much better off non-tendering him and attempting to work out a lesser deal.
Other non-tender candidates for the Rockies will include Wilin Rosario (projected arbitration salary of $3.2 million), Rex Brothers ($1.5 million), Michael McKenry ($1.4 million) and Brandon Barnes ($1.2 million).
Colorado has until roughly the end of November to make decisions on those players.
The Rockies' four remaining arbitration-eligible players -- Charlie Blackmon ($4.5 million), DJ LeMahieu ($3.7 million), Jordan Lyles ($2.8 million) and Adam Ottavino ($1.6 million) -- will all be retained, barring trades. It is possible, though, that the club will choose to go to arbitration in order to negotiate some of those projected numbers down, depending on the player.
Last year, the Rockies went to arbitration with Ottavino and Rosario, settled early with five other players (including Lyles, McKenry and Brothers), and signed Tyler Chatwood to a two-year extension.