Yesterday, Nolan Arenado and the Rockies made baseball history by agreeing to terms on an 8-year contract extension that will make Nolan the highest paid position player, on an AAV basis, ever. Nolan will make an average of $32.5M, surpassing Miguel Cabrera’s 2014 mega-contract with the Tigers, and is under contract with the Rockies through 2026. There is an opt-out after three years, but as Nick Groke explains in this article, both player and team are still betting on each other to reach a new level of greatness for Rockies baseball.
As Groke points out, the NL West is finding itself in an arms race, and rather than bow out peacefully, the Rockies are embracing their inner Marty McFly and facing their Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen in the streets of Hill Valley. That is to say, the Rockies are gunning for their first division title in franchise history as the Padres added superstar Manny Machado and the Dodgers and Giants have been rumored to be a finalist in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.
The biggest takeaways from Groke’s article are how exactly the Rockies were able to pull off such an immense contract (hint: really good, young, inexpensive pitching) and the emotional side of the deal that left Nolan wanting to play in Colorado above all else.
Zach Kram of The Ringer really unpacked how the Arenado contract is both a big win for the team—the Rockies now have the best player in the National League carrying them into playoff contention for years to come—and the player, who is now very rich and career stability with a team, and in a clubhouse, he is very comfortable competing at a high level.
Arenado is, of course, a generational talent both defensively and offensively. Kram dug a little deeper to prove the Rockies are locking in one of the best players in baseball, and found that Nolan is the second-best defensive third baseman ever in dWAR per season (min. 500 GP) behind only Lee Tannehill and above—yes—Brooks Robinson.
Even when it comes to his incredible hitting talent, “COORS” can’t keep Nolan down. As Kram points out, Nolan has produced well above average even in park-adjusted statistics, and is extremely comparable to Manny Machado. Arenado has also improved offensively (wRC+) on a year-to-year basis, and being so comfortable hitting everywhere he goes, his success should only continue. And that’s great for Nolan, for the Rockies, and for the fans.
Continuing the trend of talking about Nolan Arenado and his new deal, let’s let Nolan Arenado talk about Nolan and his new deal with the Rockies. Bob Nightengale talked to the Rockies’ star third baseman about his new deal and what it means to him to be staying in Denver for the long haul. Nolan makes it clear that he didn’t “settle” on his 8-year deal because of the murky free agency market, but rather:
I’m doing what’s best for me. I’m not a guy who’s going to be searching for the biggest contract in the game. That’s not me. I want to be where I’m comfortable.
Nolan also added: “I grew up here in this organization, so it feels like home in a way. I’ve been here since the tide has changed, and that’s a really good feeling. I was part of that change... You want to win in a place where you’ve been all of your life.’’ It’s music to Rockies fans’ ears.
As we continue our coverage of Nolan’s new deal, it’s interesting to see the ripple effects and wonder how it will begin to alter the landscape of Major League Baseball. Will Leitch compiled the players and teams he believes will most be affected by the deal. There are some BIG names on his list, which just goes to show you the tier of ballplayers Nolan stands among. As far as the teams, there are two NL clubs who will be butting heads for division dominance for years to come, and one AL team out east who has seemingly gotten yanked around this offseason targeting free agents...
Garrett Hampson is in a tight position battle competing for the starting second base job for the Rockies, so naturally his focus is on center field. *Shuffles papers around* Wait... no, yeah, that’s right. As Kyle Newman of the Post points out, Hampson has played four different positions in four spring games, and is utilizing his speed and defensive flexibility to force his way onto the roster and into the lineup as often as possible.
Kyle also offers a quick update on Charlie Blackmon, who has yet to play so far this spring, and reports that Chuck may possibly, according to Bud Black, make his first appearance in today’s game against the Angels.
Lastly, MLB.com came out with another “Top prospects to watch” list, but this time it’s looking ahead in the crystal ball to the 2021 season. There is one prospect from each MLB team, and for the Rockies it is Terrin Vavra (no. 13 PuRP). It’s not exactly a “deep” look at Terrin, but you’ll be happy to know that “all the guy does is hit” and will “hit his way up the ladder,” and has multi-position flexibility. Sounds like a Rockie to me!