St. Louis Cardinals star Nolan Arenado expects to be even better in 2022 before he has to make a career-changing decision on whether to opt out.
In 2021, Nolan Arenado had what most would consider a very good season in his first wearing a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. He hit .255/.312/.494 with 34 home runs and 105 RBI and was arguably their second best player behind Tyler O’Neill.
Arenado, however, made it clear after the season that he was not happy with his performance. And because of it, he adjusted his swing this offseason that had previously helped him become an MVP caliber player and hit at least 34-42 home runs in each of the last full six seasons.
“It did bother me,” said Arenado, via MLB.com. “”I thought last year was a good season, and I was very proud of some of the things that I accomplished, but it wasn’t good enough for this team. … In my heart I didn’t feel like I did nearly enough.”
So Arenado went to the drawing board and by all accounts, appeared ready to go. Oli Marmol has said as much. His play has backed it up, as he hit a two-run homer off Tampa Bay Rays reliever Drew Rasmussen in a 3-1 victory. A lot of it for Arenado, however, comes down to being comfortable. He was in new surroundings last season after eight years in Colorado and had to get acquainted with new surroundings, new teammates, new coaches while moving into a new city.
Arenado, 30, should be able to take it to a new level in Year 2 in St. Louis, and it’s an exciting thought for both the team and player. And for Arenado, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after 2022, it would be timed well. There’s optimism that he won’t opt out of his contract, meaning he would be with the Cardinals until 2027.
Though things can change during the season and impact Arenado’s thinking. For now, however, he’s focused on the season – and based on the early results, could be even better than last year.