The Rockies and third baseman Nolan Arenado have agreed to a two-year deal that comes with a guaranteed $29.5MM, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Arenado will earn $11.75MM in 2017 and $17.75MM in 2018. Arenado will be arbitration-eligible one final time after this two-year deal is up, and he can become a free agent after the 2019 season.
That two-year rate constitutes a slight bump over the $28.65MM deal worked out last winter between Josh Donaldson and the Blue Jays. While Arenado doesn’t have the MVP award that Donaldson brought into his second year of arb eligibility as a Super Two, the former was working from a higher first-year arb salary ($5MM).
MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz had projected that Arenado would earn $13.1MM this year. Instead, he’ll take slightly less, and will perhaps give up some upside for the following season, in exchange for the certainty of the two-year arrangement.
Arenado is a highly valuable all-around player, delivering value with his glove and his bat. It’s the latter skill that pays through the arb process, though, and Arenado showed plenty in 2016. With Coors Field helping to boost his counting stats somewhat, Arenado turned in a second-straight season in which he led the National League in home runs and RBI. Though it isn’t a particularly notable factor in arbitration, it’s worth noting too that Arenado’s OBP also rose (from .323 to .362) as he significantly improved in the plate discipline department by doubling his walk tally from 34 to 68.