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Nolan Arenado can keep his cash or play for a winner — but not both

There are a lot of great stories about Nolan Arenado‘s competitiveness, with video to back it up. Like the time he took on the tarp in San Francisco to catch a foul pop. “I can’t think of a better play I’ve ever seen on a popup,” Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper wrote in a text last week. “Equally impressive was the throw he made when he was lying on the tarp. … Maybe the best ever [popup catch], although I’m sure people in New York would argue that Derek Jeter’s was the best ever.”

Or how about the many times he has thrown from his backside? I got to watch from the side as he demonstrated his arm strength to Alex Rodriguez, firing bullets to first base from one knee. But maybe the best example of Arenado’s drive came in an informal shooting competition the Rockies held during spring training. When Arenado launched the long winner, he went absolutely wild, and his teammates went wild with him. Lord knows how fun it would be if Arenado was a regular visitor to postseason baseball, and what he would do if he won the World Series.

He’ll soon have the power to work closer to that — but in order to do so, Arenado might have to walk away from a whole lot of money. It will be a binary choice: He can either get paid at a pre-pandemic superstar rate or he can dramatically improve his chances to participate in playoff or World Series games. But he probably can’t have both.

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