The Diamondbacks have agreed to a four-year contract extension with shortstop Nick Ahmed, the club informed Monday afternoon. The deal is worth $32.5 million, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Ahmed was set to hit free agency after this coming season, so it includes his final arbitration year and the first three years of would-be free agency.
Ahmed heads to his age-30 season coming off the best year of his career. He’s long been an exceptional defender at a premium position, but last season he upped his offensive game, hitting .254/.316/.437 (93 OPS+) with 33 doubles, six triples, 19 homers, 82 RBI, 79 runs and eight steals.
Just getting his line to slightly below average was good enough — again, with his glove — to be worth 4.5 WAR. He also won his second straight Gold Glove.
Getting Ahmed locked up for a tick more than $8 million a year is a pretty savvy move by general manager Mike Hazen and his front office.
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With Ahmed off the board from free agency next offseason, there are still several worthwhile shortstops in Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons on down to the likes of Didi Gregorius and Freddy Galvis.
As for the Diamondbacks, they continue a sneaky-aggressive offseason.
They signed Madison Bumgarner while trading for Starling Marte and also adding good under-the-radar pieces like Kole Calhoun, Stephen Vogt and some bullpen depth.
Locking up Ahmed gives them confidence in the middle of the infield for years with All-Star Ketel Marte moving back to second base. Though pretty underrated, it’s one of the better double-play combos in baseball.
The Diamondbacks were 85-77 last season, missing the second wild card by just four matches, and they look to be improved in 2020.