Nolan Arenado
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Nolan Arenado and the Rockies are $6 million apart in arbitration

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Nolan Arenado and the Rockies are currently $6 million apart in arbitration figures. Arenado asked for $30 million, while the club countered with $24 million. Rosenthal adds that even if Arenado is awarded the lower number, he’ll eclipse Josh Donaldson‘s record-breaking $23 million deal with the highest single-season salary figure to be awarded in arbitration.

Arenado, 27, certainly has the skillset to back up such a big ask. The 2018 season marked his fourth consecutive All-Star campaign, and he took home a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger after batting a robust .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, 110 RBI, a .935 OPS, and career-best 5.7 fWAR through 673 PA. On defense, he finished third among all qualified major-league third baseman, outpaced only by the Athletics’ fellow Gold Glover Matt Chapman and the Mariners’ Kyle Seager.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan cites sources that say the two sides are likely to resolve matters in advance of any mandatory arbitration hearing. Of course, there’s more to consider here than Arenado’s immediate value to the Rockies. Thomas Harding of points out that a “multi-year contract is the goal,” though Colorado could be waiting on free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign elsewhere so that they have a more definite valuation for their slugger. It’s also possible, of course, that Arenado will eschew a long-term deal in order to test the open market when he enters free agency in 2020.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]