Ranking the 10 worst contracts in the National League Central
By Greg Simons
No. 6: Nolan Arenado, $160M remaining
How can a Platinum-Glove award winning third baseman whose hitting has been well above average every full season of his career except his rookie year be risky? When he’s 31 years old and is owed a ton of money over the next several seasons.
There’s no denying Arenado is a stud. He’s won a Gold Glove all nine seasons he’s played in the bigs, earned four Silver Slugger awards, made six All-Star teams, and finished in the top ten of MVP voting five times. His bat has been 22% better than average by measure of OPS+, and Arenado considered last season somewhat disappointing despite his 34 home runs and 105 RBI, so this year he’s flat-out knocking the snot out of the ball.
His ranking here is further evidence of two things. First, this division’s teams don’t give out crazy contracts very often. Second, the future is unknown. Just about everyone expects Arenado to age gracefully, continue his fine fielding and high-quality hitting, and be one of the leaders of a St. Louis squad that competes for the playoffs on an annual basis.
But if something disastrous happened, something that would put Arenado out for an extended period or, heaven forbid, caused his career to be over, the Cardinals’ assumption of his big contract in their trade with the Rockies would put a significant crimp in their ability to compete. Is that likely? No, but the risk is undeniable, and no other player listed so far has a bigger contract on the line.