Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies and third baseman Nolan Arenado aren’t likely to come to an agreement before heading to a salary arbitration hearing in February. In his final year of arbitration eligibility, Arenado filed for $30 million and the Rockies countered at $24 million.
In an arbitration hearing, representatives from both sides make cases as to why their submitted figure should be chosen. In other words, the Rockies’ reps will be arguing to Arenado’s face — and others — why he isn’t worth an extra $6 million. Such a negative interaction could reduce the Rockies’ chances of getting Arenado to eventually agree to a contract extension, as the superstar can become a free agent after the 2019 season.
Arenado, 27, has won a Gold Glove Award in each of the six seasons in which he has played. He has made the NL All-Star team four times, led the league in home runs three times, and led all of baseball in RBI twice. He owns a career .291/.346/.539 triple-slash line. Adjusted OPS, or OPS+, sets average to 100 and adjusts for the quality of a player’s league as well as the ballparks in which he plays. Arenado has a career 121 OPS+ and put up a 133 mark last year, showing that he’s still plenty productive even accounting for the boost provided by his hitter friendly home ballpark, Coors Field.
If the Rockies and Arenado head to an arbitration hearing, one of the two submitted figures will be chosen. No matter which side wins, the salary will set a new arbitration record, breaking the previous record of $23 million paid to Josh Donaldson by the Blue Jays last year.