Rockies, Nolan Arenado avoid arbitration, agree to record $26 million deal

Nolan Arenado
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The Rockies announced that the club and third baseman Nolan Arenado have avoided arbitration. They agreed to a $26 million salary for the 2019 season, per’s Mark Feinsand. Arenado was eligible for arbitration in his third and final year. $26 million represents a new record for an arbitration-eligible player, breaking the previous record of $23 million, which Josh Donaldson got from the Blue Jays last year.

As recently as last week, it was thought that the two sides wouldn’t be able to come to an agreement and would be headed to an arbitration hearing in February. Arenado filed for $30 million while the Rockies countered at $24 million.

Arenado, 27, is one of the best players in baseball, so it is not surprising that he set a new arbitration record. Last season, he hit .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, 110 RBI, and 104 runs scored in 673 plate appearances. Arenado won his sixth consecutive NL Gold Glove at third base, made the All-Star team for the fourth consecutive year, and he finished third in NL MVP balloting behind Chrisitan Yelich and Javier Báez.

With Arendo headed to free agency after the 2019 season, the Rockies are on the clock getting him to agree to a contract extension. If they can’t, the club will almost certainly have to pursue trading him at the non-waiver trade deadline, particularly if they’re out of contention.

Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN on opening day

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Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.

Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.

“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”

Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.

Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.

“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.

Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.