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Arenado comfortable with opt-out decision: 'It didn't feel right leaving'

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St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado says he's content with the decision he made to not opt out of his contract and test free agency this offseason.

"I definitely think about it," Arenado said Thursday, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. "But it was a long process to get me here, and it didn't feel right leaving after two years; it just didn't."

Arenado had a clause in his contract that would have allowed him to opt out of the remaining five years and $144 million remaining on an eight-year, $260-million extension he signed with the Colorado Rockies in 2019.

If he had decided to test the open market, Arenado likely would have been able to surpass the figures he locked into through the 2027 season.

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado was facing a similar decision next offseason but was able to secure an 11-year, $350-million extension.

Despite the incredible boom market for free agents, Arenado is thrilled to still be a member of the Cardinals organization and tried to keep the situation in perspective.

"I'm happy I'm here still," Arenado said. "I have more than enough money. I don't like sitting here complaining about money when I make a lot more money than most people."

The Cardinals acquired Arenado in a lopsided trade with the Rockies ahead of the 2021 season. The 31-year-old has been excellent since joining St. Louis, making a pair of All-Star appearances while also taking home two Gold Gloves.

Arenado enjoyed a terrific season in 2022. He posted an .891 OPS with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs while finishing third in NL MVP voting.

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