While the baseball world continues to wait for news on which team Bryce Harper will choose, one star player who was looking at free agency in a future offseason has now agreed to a deal of his own.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, via Twitter, the Colarado Rockies and third baseman Nolan Arenado are “finalizing an eight-year, contract extension worth more than $255M.” The deal, which keeps Arenado in Denver through 2026, includes an opt-out deal after three years — which would put Arenado on the free agent market at age 30.
The player will also receive a full no-trade clause, Passan said.
Arenado, had he not agreed to the extension with Colorado, would have been a free agent after the 2019 season. The New York Post ran a column last week with the headline “Nolan Arenado’s free agency confidence gives Yankees hope.”
In Arenado’s six-year career, all of which has been spent with Colorado, Arenado has batted.291, coinciding with 186 home runs and an OPS+ of 121. Arenado has led the National League in homers three times, and in RBIs twice.
Reporters Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal confirmed Arenado’s extension via Twitter, although Rosenthal listed the money at $260 million. Per Bob Nightengale via USA Today, the deal will set a new record for average-annual value in a baseball contract.
Arenado’s extension, as huge as it is, remains below the ten-year, $300 million deal reached by Manny Machado and San Diego earlier this month. It is also less than Harper is expected to receive from whichever team he chooses.
The opt-out after three years is significant, however, as Angelo Cataldi of WIP in Philadelphia reported Tuesday morning that in the Philadelphia Phillies’ negotiations with Harper, the Phillies had offered $330 million over ten years — but that Harper had requested the chance to opt out of that contract after three years. What that means for Harper’s eventual choice is unclear.
The Rockies, this week, also announced an extension with their manager, Bud Black, for three additional years, per Purple Row.
The extension comes as the race in the National League West division this year is expected to be tight, with the Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers both having won 90 games in 2018, the Padres improved by the addition of Machado, the Arizona Diamondbacks also coming off a winning season, and the San Francisco Giants a year further along in their rebuilding. Harper, meanwhile, has been linked to three different teams in the division — the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants.