MLB hot stove: How this offseason could impact Nolan Arenado’s future with the Rockies

With a big — albeit not nearly as hyped as it was two or three years ago — class in free agency, there’s been much ado with this year’s crop, particularly Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The focus of much of the baseball world is on those two and it trickles down to the likes of Patrick Corbin, Josh Donaldson and Andrew McCutchen. 

For the Rockies, they might be looking ahead to next offseason. The reason? Their franchise cornerstone, third baseman Nolan Arenado, will be hitting free agency unless they extend him before then. 

Trying to compare whatever deal Machado gets in free agency to what Arenado would expect would be apples vs. oranges, as Machado is 26 and Arenado won’t be hitting free agency until he’s looking toward his age-29 season. It’s three fewer years of prime. 

Still, one would expect the staggering number (at least we expect it to be) of Machado to turn the head of Arenado and his agency. Facing the open market instead of signing an extension that might end up being a low-ball offer is likely pretty attractive to Arenado at this point. 

“These sort of ‘problems’ aren’t really problems. They’re just part of the business,” Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “It’s our job to navigate the situation and hopefully do it with a professional and mutual respect.”

Definitely read the full article for more details, Rockies fans, but it’s clear the Rockies want to keep Arenado long past next season. 

My hunch is that a Rockies extension at this point would take six years and at least $150 million.There are arbitration estimates out there pegging Arenado for over $26 million this season, so giving him some decline years at an average annual value of $25 million probably seems fair from the Rockies’ perspective. 

From the perspective of Arenado and his agency, if Machado gets over $30 million average annual value on his deal, it might not be enough. Surely they’ll argue Arenado is better than Machado and Machado can’t last at shortstop, so the two should be compensated similarly, albeit chopping off at least three years due to the age difference. 

Of course, we also saw a veritable bloodbath for most players last offseason and we don’t yet know exactly how this winter will go. If it’s another down offseason, maybe home cooking and the security of a long-term contract in hand will be the route Arenado wishes to take. 

It’s just another thing to watch in his huge offseason in Major League Baseball. 

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