Nick Ahmed was going to be entering his final year of arbitration as a Diamondback this season. Early indications were that he’d be testing the free-agent market next winter as a result. But in a surprise move this afternoon, Arizona announced that they have inked the shortstop to a contract covering that final arbitration year, and three season of free agency past that. Nick Piecoro reports that “the deal is worth a guaranteed $32.5 million with a chance to earn more in bonuses.” Ahmed will turn thirty next month, so this will cover his age 30-33 seasons.
ZIPS projects 2.6 fWAR for Ahmed this year. If we presume a half-win drop every year after that, Ahmed will be worth 7.4 fWAR over the next four years, which would make this contract very solid value for the Diamondbacks. It gives Arizona stability over the long-term, after having traded their former best shortstop prospect, Jazz Chisholm, to the Marlins in the Zac Gallen swap. That left Geraldo Perdomo as the consensus best shortstop in the D-backs’ farm system. But Perdomo only turned 20 in October, and is not currently expected to reach the majors before 2022, so extending Ahmed covers that gap and means there’s no need to rush the prospect up.