Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu is fresh off a career season in 2015, and his team rewarded him with a new contract Wednesday as the two sides avoided arbitration.
The Rockies announced on Twitter they agreed to the two-year deal with the 27-year-old.
The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com) said the contract was for $7.8 million with LeMahieu getting $3 million in 2016 and $4.8 million in 2017. When exchanging proposed arbitration salaries, the infielder “asked for a raise from $517,500 to $3.3 million, and the Rockies had offered $2.8 million,” per the Associated Press.
The Associated Press also noted players were 3-1 in arbitration this year and added more details: “Players had their first winning record in arbitration since they went 2-1 in 2011. Management has a 302-224 advantage since arbitration started in 1974. Teams were 8-6 last year, the most hearings since 2001.”
It is no surprise LeMahieu was set for a raise considering he turned in career-high offensive totals nearly across the board last season:
|Season||Team||Batting Average||Home Runs||RBI||Doubles||Triples||Walks||Stolen Bases||OPS||WAR|
As a result, the second baseman made his first career All-Star Game in 2015 and helped the Rockies finish fifth in the major leagues in total runs scored despite their abysmal 68-94 record.
LeMahieu also took runs off the board on the other side as an impressive fielder. He won the National League Gold Glove at second base in 2014 and is responsible for 37 total defensive runs saved above average at second base since the 2012 campaign, per FanGraphs.
The National League West is a loaded division with the Los Angeles Dodgers fresh off a 92-70 campaign and the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks coming off notable offseasons. San Francisco added Johnny Cueto, Denard Span and Jeff Samardzija to a club that finished 84-78 last year, and Arizona bolstered its rotation with Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller.
The Rockies are facing an uphill battle in the next couple of years with that competition, and the wild-card race won’t be much easier with the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets and Washington Nationals all poised to make postseason runs in 2016 and 2017.
Perhaps Colorado’s best chance is to outscore teams with a strong offense in Coors Field, and ensuring LeMahieu is well-paid and there at second base alongside Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado is an ideal place to start.