By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer
All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado will not exercise the opt-out clause in his contract with the Cardinals, keeping him in St. Louis through the end of the 2027 season, a person familiar with his decision told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made. The Athletic was the first to report on Arenado’s decision.
Arenado had until five days after the World Series to decide whether to opt out of the remaining five years and $144 million on his contract. He originally signed an eight-year, $260 million pact with the Colorado Rockies in 2019 before getting sent to the NL Central champions, where he is set to make a base salary of $35 million next season.
Cardinals president John Mozeliak said earlier in the week that he flew to Southern California to meet with Arenado and that he was “optimistic” that things would work out.
The 31-year-old Arenado, a seven-time All-Star, also had been hearing from longtime ace Adam Wainwright, who announced earlier this week that he would return for one last season in St. Louis.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who might be Arenado’s biggest competition in the NL MVP race, also has been peppering him with text messages.
“Goldy and I have been on him and hopefully that works out,” Wainwright said. “I think it will. Nolan wants to be here.”
The very thought of opting out of such a massive contract seemed a longshot a year ago. But Arenado proceeded to hit .293 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs while playing well enough defensively to earn his 10th Gold Glove, and he could have pushed for an even bigger contract had he chosen to test free agency.
Instead, he will return to a team that loses retiring Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina but little else from the team that was swept by the NL champion Philadelphia Phillies in the wild-card round at Busch Stadium.
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