Katie Woo of The Athletic reports that superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado informed the Cardinals that he would opt for the remainder of his contract. Arenado, who slashed .293/.358/.533 in a 2022 campaign that left him in line to be considered for the NL MVP award, will earn $144 million over the next five years and lock up the hot corner of St. Louis through the end of the 2027 season.
This comes as a surprise given Arenado’s 2022 MVP caliber. Although he will play next season at 32, potentially limiting his chances of adding many more years to his current pact, it’s easy to see how it could have surpassed the average annual value it is currently expected to receive; notably, his third baseman compatriot Anthony Rendon managed to secure a $35 million AAV during his seven-year, $245 million contract he signed with the Angels ahead of the 2020 season, while Freddie FreemanThe six-year, $162 million pact with the Dodgers last offseason exceeds Arenado’s current deal in terms of years and total value. That being said, Arenado’s comfort in St. Louis and his desire to stay long-term have been widely reported, so the fact that Arenado will stay in St. Louis isn’t too shocking.
As Athletic’s Nick Groke mentions, Arenado opting into his contract means the payment plan the Rockies and Cardinals agreed to at the time of the blockbuster deal that sent Arenado to St. Louis in exchange for a package that included Austin Gomber and four prospects ahead of the 2021 season will continue. Under that payment plan, Colorado is set to pay the Cardinals $31.5 million in the future, including $16 million next season, a price above any salary on the Rockies’ 2023 payroll. with the exception of that of Kris Bryant.
This news checks another major thing off the Cardinals’ offseason to-do list days after it was reported they had re-signed Adam Wainwright for the 2023 season. The Cardinals should have significant leeway to add to their payroll this season, and not having to allocate additional resources to retain Arenado should allow St. Louis to do more to address other areas. from the list, including finding a replacement for the franchise mainstay. Yadier Molinawho is retiring alongside Albert Pujol. The starting rotation, where Wainwright will be joined by the likes of Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomeryand Jack Flaherty in 2023, and the outfield, where Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlsonand Lars Notbaar represent the following main options Harrison BaderNew York’s trade at the trade deadline represents other areas where the Cardinals could look to improve.