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 MLB.com’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.