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 2027 season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official statements have been made. Arenad’s decision was first reported by “Atletik”.

Arenado had 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 deal with the Colorado Rockies in 2019 before being sent to the NL Central champions, where he is due a $35 million base salary next season.

Cardinals president John Mazeliak said earlier this week that he flew to Southern California to meet with Arenado and that he was “optimistic” that things would work out.

Arenado, 31, a seven-time All-Star, also heard from longtime ace Adam Wainwright, who announced earlier this week that he would return for his final season in St. Louis.

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who may be Arenado’s biggest competition in the Netherlands MVP race, also bombarded him with text messages.

“Goldie and I were on it and hopefully it will work out,” Wainwright said. “I think it will. Nolan wants to be here.”

A year ago, the very thought of giving up such a large-scale contract seemed absurd. But Arenado hit .293 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs while playing well enough defensively to earn his 10th Gold Glove, and he could command an even bigger contract if he decides to test free agency.

Instead, he will return to a team that will lose the retiring Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, but little else from a team that was defeated by the NL champion Philadelphia Phillies in the wild-card round at Busch Stadium.


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