When the Los Angeles Dodgers showed financial restraint after the 2017 season, it was presumed they were setting themselves up for a loaded free agency class that loomed one year ahead. It was expected to be headlined by Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Manny Machado.
Kershaw wound up signing a three-year extension with the Dodgers, bypassing the chance to become a free agent for a second time in his career. Meanwhile, Harper and Machado found tough sledding on the open market as teams resisted doling out the long-term contract offers they sought.
Machado only recently found a home, agreeing to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres. Harper remains a free agent, and just as it appeared the Philadelphia Phillies emerged as the frontrunner, the Dodgers reportedly re-entered the picture.
In some circles, the Dodgers’ tepid interest was tied to a possible pursuit of Nolan Arenado, as he was on track to reach free agency after the 2019 season. That’s no longer a viable option, however, as Arenado and the Colorado Rockies agreed to terms on an eight-year contract extension, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
Arenado’s new eight-year, $260M contract with the #Rockies will include an opt-out after three years and full no-trade clause, sources say.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 26, 2019
Arenado and the Rockies avoided arbitration this winter by agreeing to a $26 million salary. Arenado requested for $30 million, while the Rockies countered with $24 million. The sides continued negotiating after filing.
His new deal replaces that one-year pact, and at a $32.5 million average annual value, surpasses the record Miguel Cabrera held ($31 million) for a position player. It trails only Zack Greinke’s $34.4 million average annual value this season for highest among active players.