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Nolan Arenado: Kind of a big deal for the Rockies

Rockies news and links for March 2, 2019

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Kind of a Big Deal

Nolan Arenado set a new bar for sports contracts in Denver, but is he among the best values in town? | The Athletic ($)
Nolan Arenado’s eight-year, $260 million contract adds up to an average annual value of $32.5 million. That makes him the highest paid position player in baseball history. Only starting pitcher Zack Greinke makes more per year. The Athletic’s group of Denver writers from the Colorado Rockies, Colorado Avalanche, Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets gathered to compare how much of a value Arenado’s contract is compared to Denver’s other sports stars. Even at such a high AAV, Arenado represents a great value. This claim is backed up by $/WAR at FanGraphs, which suggests Arenado has been worth around $167 million from 2015-2018.

Other valuable assets for the Rockies are starting pitchers Kyle Freeland and German Márquez, who make league minimum despite being among the four most valuable Rockies in 2018. A contract of $5 million in his first year of arbitration, Trevor Story also represents quite the value for the production he brings.

Rockies Insider: How Nolan Arenado’s contract affects the Colorado futures of Trevor Story, Kyle Freeland and German Márquez | The Denver Post ($)
For the next few years, the Rockies’ roster is sitting rather comfortably. But Arenado has the option to exercise an opt-out clause after the 2021 season. Story will become a free agent after the 2021 season, barring an extension of his own. After the 2022 season, Freeland and Márquez will also hit the open market. The Rockies will have the ability to exercise or decline Ian Desmond’s club option for 2022, the same year in which Charlie Blackmon will decide if he wants to exercise his player option.

Arenado will obviously be taking up a good chunk of change from the Rockies’ payroll for the next three years— or more if he opts to stay in Colorado. If Story maintains his excellence at the plate from the 2018 season, he will be in line for a $30 million-plus AAV payday. This would understandably be a tall ask for the Monforts. Freeland and Márquez could certainly be looking at $20 million-plus AAV’s as well. For now, as Kyle Newman and Jeff Bailey of The Denver Post write, there’s nothing to panic about yet. But the Rockies will be facing some roster crunches after the 2021 campaign.

The worst contracts in Colorado Rockies history | The Denver Post ($)
Of course, big contracts aren’t always a great idea. The Rockies have experienced this firsthand, as Joe Nguyen of The Denver Posts writes.

Mike Hampton (eight years, $121 million), Denny Neagle (five years, $51.5 million), Darryl Kile (three years, $24 million) and José Reyes (four years, $50.2 million) all turned out to be poor choices. Of course, the Rockies did not give Reyes that contract, but they did agree to take it on in their trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. You’ll notice that none of these players ended up lasting out the entirety of their contracts in Colorado.

There are a few players on the Rockies’ current roster who could join the aforementioned quartet. Desmond has been worth minus-1.5 fWAR in his first two years of a five-year, $70 million contract. Bryan Shaw, the former epitome of consistency with the Cleveland Indians, gave the Rockies minus-1.99 Win Probability Added in the first year of his three-year, $27 million deal. And Jake McGee, who parlayed a superb 2017 into a three-year, $27 million contract of his own, turned in a minus-0.57 WPA in the first year of his deal.

The Rockies-Padres Rivalry Should Be More Compelling With San Diego Adding Manny Machado | Forbes
Jack Etkin of Forbes writes that the Padres’ signing of Manny Machado will make for more anticipated matchups between the Rockies and the Friars in 2019 and years to come. Aside from 2007’s epic Game 163 and the bench-clearing brawl in 2018 after Luis Perdomo hit Arenado with a pitch, there hasn’t been the same excitement around facing San Diego that there has been when the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants come to Coors Field. The Padres have the best farm system in baseball, according to Baseball America. While the Padres shouldn’t be contenders in 2019 (at least not in my estimation), Machado and the youngsters could be knocking on the door of the National League West sooner rather than later.

Did Manny Machado Get A Better Contract Than Bryce Harper? | FanGraphs
The contracts of Arenado, Machado and Bryce Harper all look different on the surface. Harper has the most guaranteed money, Arenado has the highest AAV and Machado comes in between in both areas. Craig Edwards of FanGraphs compares all three mega-deals with the relevant adjustments for state and local taxes. The consensus is that there isn’t a clear winner of “The Best Contract Award.”

Around Rockies’ Camp

Amid the optimism of Rockies spring training, Colorado’s Venezuelan players hold out hope for their homeland, too | The Denver Post ($)
While there is a great excitement in spring training surrounding the prospects of a new season, the Rockies’ Venezuelan-born players have their home country in their thoughts. Márquez, Antonio Senzatela, Jesus Tinoco and Yonathan Daza all have family back home and keeping in touch can be a difficult task. Newman spoke to Márquez and Daza, who offered their reflections on the unrest in Venezuela.

Rockies manager Bud Black on rising infield prospect Tyler Nevin: “There’s a lot of upside there.” | The Denver Post ($)
From the painful contracts of yesteryear to hope for the future, Rockies manager Bud Black offers positive reviews of infielder Tyler Nevin (No. 7 PuRP). The corner infielder had an excellent season for the Class-A Advanced Lancaster JetHawks in 2018, producing a line of .328/.386/.503. Nevin then raked in the Arizona Fall League, earning his spot as a non-roster invitee in 2019’s spring training camp. Black has seen Nevin firsthand, as Newman writes. While managing the Padres, Black kept an eye on the local scene in San Diego, where he watched Nevin play his high school games.

A Final Story

‘He was miraculous’: The José Fernández free agency that never was | The Athletic ($)
José Fernández would have joined Harper and Machado on the 2018-2019 free agent market had he not tragically died in a boating accident on September 25, 2016. Jayson Stark of The Athletic interviewed several people involved in the baseball side of Fernández’s life. Agent Scott Boras believes Fernández would have received a $400 million contract. And current Rockies’ bench coach Mike Redmond, who was manager of the Miami Marlins from 2013-2015, did not hide his emotion when speaking about how much he still misses Fernández.

Spring Training News

The Rockies lost 6-3 to the Oakland Athletics on Friday. The Rox are now 2-4 in Cactus League play. The game started off quite well as Jon Gray accrued three strikeouts over a perfect three innings of work. The next three innings did not go as well for the pitching staff, as Tyler Anderson allowed four runs in two innings, followed by Chris Rusin giving up an additional two runs in his one inning. Mike Dunn and Harrison Musgrave put up zeroes in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. On offense, Garrett Hampson (No. 4 PuRP) and Ryan McMahon each hit home runs, continuing a hot start to the spring for both.’s Thomas Harding posted video of both homers on Twitter for you to enjoy.

The Rockies will travel to Glendale today to take on the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Antonio Senzatela will make his second start of the spring for the Rockies. On Monday, Senzatela pitched two innings, allowing only one hit— a solo home run to Jorge Soler. Carlos Rodon will make his first start of the spring for the ChiSox.

Today’s game begins at 1:05 PM MT and there will be a broadcast on You can also listen on KOA 850 AM.