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Nolan Arenado says he is happy in St. Louis - A Hunt and Peck

The Cardinals third baseman discusses why he did not opt out.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Following the 2022 season Nolan Arenado had the opportunity to opt out of his contract he signed with Colorado Rockies back in 2019 for 8 years and $260 million. Opt out clauses are generally seen as a good thing for players. It allows the player the chance to pursue a bigger salary if the elect to use their opt out. It puts more control in the player’s hands.

Nolan Arenado’s contract contained two opt out clauses, one after the 2021 season which he declined and the next following the 2022 season. He declined the 2022 option as well and now has five years and $89 million remaining in his contract. According to Fangraphs $/WAR calculations, if he repeats his performance from 2021 he would be over one-third of the way to reaching that $89 million value. If he plays like he did in 2022 — the best season of his career — he would be about two-thirds of the way to reaching there. To me, it seems like he might have been able to ride his MVP caliber 2022 season to a new and bigger contract, but according to Arenado, that isn’t a concern to him. Per MLB Radio:

“I wouldn’t say regrets, I love being here. I came here, I got traded here. I wanted to stay here... I love being here, and I make more than enough money, more than I deserve, so I’ll be alright.”

There are probably a lot of reasons that go into a decision like this for a player. To be frank opting out sounds like a lot of hassle — I can see why someone would just take the safe choice and earn the millions of guaranteed money they are already promised. But it is nice to hear a player say that want to stay and play for your favorite team — at least a little bit, right? Nolan Arenado wants to play for the St. Louis Cardinals — enough so that he felt it was worth not taking a chance at the possibility of more money. I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he tried to earn more, like Manny Machado had stated he would do (prior to signing a new 11-year, $350MM contract), but what he said was pretty dang cool. And as a Cardinals fan, all I can say is that I sure am happy that he is happy.

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