Nolan Arenado
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Rockies working hard to extend Nolan Arenado

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On Thursday, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado avoided arbitration with the club after agreeing to a one-year, $26 million deal for the 2019 season. While the figure represented a record single-season salary for an arbitration-eligible player, settling with Arenado was never the Rockies’ end goal. Owner and CEO Dick Monfort said Saturday that the team is close to securing an extension for the 27-year-old All-Star, which would effectively prevent him from entering the free agent market in 2020.

“I’m comfortable that we can get a number that we can get to,” Monfort told MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. “There are a lot of things that have to go through Nolan’s mind, too. But I’m confident that after we met, Nolan wants this [extension] to happen as much as we do.”

Specific terms of any pending agreement have yet to be revealed, but Monfort spoke to the team’s expected payroll flexibility in 2019 and indicated that the deal would be something Arenado feels comfortable accepting. Given the Rockies’ willingness to meet the infielder in the middle during their arbitration settlement (they initially filed at $24 million, $6 million apart from Arenado’s $30 million request), it’s expected to be a fairly generous offer — perhaps in line with the $200+ million contract GM Jeff Bridich mentioned back in December.

Of course, the exact figure also depends on the salaries that top free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado secure this winter. Arenado will undoubtedly be looking to the pair for some indication of the kind of lucrative deal he could command in free agency next year, and will weigh that against whatever the Rockies decide to put on the table.

Clayton Kershaw shut down with “an arm kind of thing”

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Spring training is just underway but Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is already being shut down indefinitely.

Kershaw threw two bullpen sessions this week and, as the Los Angeles Times reports, he “didn’t feel right” afterward. Manager Dave Roberts said it was “arm kind of thing,” which, viva specificity. Roberts did allow that it might be so-called “dead arm” but it’s too soon to know. For now he’ll be working out as usual but not throwing.

Kershaw has had an increasing number of nagging injuries and ailments over the past several seasons, limiting him to 26 starts last year, 27 the year before and 21 in 2016. Whether this is something serious or not is unknown, but at least he’s experiencing it now instead of the middle of the season.