With spring training less than three weeks away, there is the growing possibility that Nolan Arenado and the Rockies will enter salary arbitration to determine the amount of his 2019 contract.
According to a major-league source, the two sides probably will go to arbitration rather than reach an agreement on the all-star third baseman’s one-year contract. Arenado is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019 season.
Arenado sought $30 million and the Rockies countered with a $24 million contract when the two sides exchanged figures earlier this month. Speculation has been that Arenado will ultimately land a deal around $27 million. Whether through negotiations or arbitration, Arenado’s salary will break the arbitration record of $23 million, set last year by Josh Donaldson, then with the Blue Jays.
This year’s arbitration hearings run from Feb. 1-20. When the two sides are unable to come to terms, they meet in front of an arbitration panel. Each side states its case and the three-person panel picks either the salary the player filed or the salary the team filed — there is no in-between figure. It should be noted, however, that teams and players can work out a contract of any size prior to a hearing.
In 2016, for example, former Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu was scheduled for an arbitration hearing but reached an agreement with Colorado for a two-year, $7.8 million contract on the day of his scheduled hearing.