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    Arenado's excellence has long-term value

    China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-28 09:46
    Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) hits a two run home run in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field in Denver, USA, Sept 30, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

    DENVER - Nolan Arenado likes where he is and the direction the Colorado Rockies are headed.

    So he's staying put - possibly for a long, long time.

    The All-Star third baseman on Tuesday agreed to an eight-year contract extension worth $260 million, a source familiar with the negotiations told Associated Press.

    The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.

    Arenado's agreement includes a provision that allows him to opt out after three years and become a free agent.

    Arenado's $32.5 million average annual salary will be the second-highest in baseball history, behind the $34.42 million average for pitcher Zack Greinke in the $206.5 million contract he signed with Arizona in 2016.

    The new deal replaces the one-year, $26 million contract Arenado agreed to on Jan 31.

    Arenado, who turns 28 on April 16, was on track to be eligible for free agency after this season, but there's comfort in remaining at Coors Field, especially in these uncertain days of free agency.

    Manny Machado was unsigned until agreeing to a $300 million package with the San Diego Padres last week, and Bryce Harper is still searching for a team with spring training games already underway.

    That hasn't been lost on Arenado, who recently said: "There are some really good baseball players out there, and it is crazy to think some of these teams don't need them. They need them."

    The Rockies are trending upward after making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, a franchise first.

    Even more, they nearly captured the team's first NL West title before losing in a tiebreaker at Los Angeles in a one-game playoff.

    The Rockies advanced by beating the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card game.

    But now is a new chapter for a team that's been to the World Series just once - in 2007, when the Rockies were swept by Boston.

    Known for his big bat and highlight-reel defense at third, Arenado has been the face of the franchise for years.

    A second-round pick by the Rockies in the 2009 amateur draft, he's a career .291 hitter with 186 home runs, 616 RBIs and an .886 OPS. He's earned a Gold Glove in each of his six MLB seasons.

    Last season Arenado batted .297 with an NL-leading 38 homers, finishing third in MVP voting.

    It's the second deal worked out by the front office this week. The team also announced a three-year contract extension for manager Bud Black through 2022.

    Over the offseason, the Rockies gave their offense a boost by bringing in Daniel Murphy to play first base. That means Ian Desmond will head to the outfield.

    Colorado will rely heavily on youngsters such as Garrett Hampson, Ryan McMahon or Brendan Rodgers at second base after the departure of DJ LeMahieu to the New York Yankees.

    The Rockies boast a young rotation led by Kyle Freeland and German Marquez that's filled with promise.

    Arenado, though, will be the driving force.

    Associated Press

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