The Arizona Diamondbacks announced on Monday that they had signed their talented shortstop, Nick Ahmed, to a four-year contract extension worth $32.5 million. The deal comes in Ahmed’s third and final year of salary arbitration eligibility and ensures that Ahmed will remain a Diamondback for years to come. It also includes a number of performance incentives that make the deal more lucrative if Ahmed excels on the field.
Ahmed, who will report for spring training Sunday, would have garnered a lot of interest if he entered free agency. But thanks to a number of Arizona’s important offseason moves and his positive experience with the team since he debuted in 2014, he chose to stay.
“At the end of the day, I like playing here,” Ahmed told AZCentral.com. “I liked the last bunch of years I’ve been able to have here. I love the group of guys, I love the coaching staff, my family loves it here. At the end of the day, I’d rather be here than anywhere else.”
— Nick Ahmed (@NickAhmed13) February 11, 2020
Ahmed, who turns 30 next month, is coming off his second consecutive National League Gold Glove Award and is widely considered one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops. He led all MLB shortstops with 18 defensive runs saved a season ago, and for the past two years he has led all NL position players in defensive wins above replacement.
Ahmed has built himself into an offensive threat as well of late. Last season was his best at the plate, as he posted career highs in many offensive categories including batting average (.254), RBIs (82) and home runs (19).
And with all that Ahmed can do on the field, general manager Mike Hazen said his leadership qualities and work ethic were invaluable for team chemistry.
“I don’t think there’s anybody more dedicated to getting the most out of their ability than [Ahmed] is,” Hazen said. “… I think [teammates] are watching that pay off for him, as well.”
On a powerful episode of the Sports Spectrum Podcast last May, Ahmed explained that his faith in Christ is what propels him to work as hard as he can while not fixating on what others think of the ultimate result.
“I have more perspective to not ride that roller coaster of highs and lows too much,” he said, “but just be a little bit more steady and let my joy come from Jesus and not the circumstances around me.”
"As I seek God more and learn to take the time to rest in Him, I’m discovering God to be more of a shelter than I ever have before. Away from the distractions, temptations and pulls of this life, God is my rest." — D-backs SS @NickAhmed13https://t.co/ZVgbIrXdyu
— The Increase (@The_Increase) February 7, 2020
Ahmed admits that success in baseball had become an idol of sorts in his life. Yet God worked in his heart during the early — and often trying — years as a professional. Eventually, thanks in part to faithful mentors and in part to reading the Bible for himself, Ahmed accepted Christ as the Lord of his life.
“[My relationship with Christ] started to change how I thought, how I lived, and God started to give me new desires,” Ahmed said. “It was a long process and it still is, obviously, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Ahmed will be featured in the upcoming Spring 2020 issue of Sports Spectrum Magazine.
– NEW PODCAST: Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks Shortstop
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