#2 - Nolan Arenado opting into his contract
Sure, for most people who follow the Cardinals, it was not much of a surprise that Nolan Arenado decided to opt into the rest of his contract. But after finishing top 3 in MVP voting this year, no one would have blamed him for looking for a raise this off-season.
Then as the off-season began to unfold, the amount of money being thrown out there makes you wonder just how much money Arenado left on the table to remain in St. Louis. In today's game, it is rare for a player to give a discount to their club on the open market. In the case of Arenado, he may have left upwards of $100 million dollars on the table.
It's clear that the future Hall of Famer is going to be the leader for the Cardinals for the rest of his contract. His fiery personality, dedication to winning, and high character are exactly what St. Louis wants from their star players. As Pujols, Molina, and Wainwright walk away from the game, having Arenado and Goldschmidt ready to carry the torch is a huge blessing to this city.
Had Arenado opted out, the Cardinals would have had a franchise-altering decision to make, and with how this off-season has gone, I would not have been surprised if the Mets or Padres swooped in and grabbed Arenado. Even if he had resigned, what are the chances they go out and sign Contreras as well?