The Colorado Rockies announced on Friday that they have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Nolan Arenado for the 2019 season. The Rockies’ star third baseman will make $26 million in his final year of arbitration. This breaks the previous record for an arbitration-eligible player, which was set by another third baseman, Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays. Donaldson’s previous record was $23 million for the 2018 season. The Rockies have now come to terms with all of their arbitration-eligible players for 2019.
There was growing concern that Arenado and the Rockies would head to an arbitration hearing in the coming weeks. On January 11, the filing day for arbitration figures, Arenado requested $30 million, while the Rockies proposed $24 million. Arenado’s contract will be just below the midpoint of the two figures and just $100,000 short of MLB Trade Rumors’ projected salary of $26.1 million. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that a “face-to-face meeting of several hours” took place between Arenado, agent Joel Wolfe, general manager Jeff Bridich and Rockies’ owner Dick Monfort. The team appeared to be pulling out all the stops to avoid taking the case to an arbitration hearing.
As Jeff Passan of ESPN notes, the Rockies still have interest in keeping Arenado in Denver on a long-term deal. Today’s news does not preclude such an agreement. The Rockies came to terms with Charlie Blackmon to avoid arbitration prior to the 2018 season before working out his six-year, $108 million extension a few days after the regular season had already got underway.