The Cardinals and Rockies completed their mega Nolan Arenado trade Monday night after days of complex negotiations and approvals. The All-Star third baseman heads east to St. Louis two weeks before the scheduled start of sprint training in a five-for-one exchange.
Qualifying this transaction is simple: St. Louis wins the part of 2021 in a landslide, and there’s an excellent chance it will come out ahead in the long run as well.
But the question remains as to why we have reached that conclusion. This is the reasoning:
Nolan Arenado Business Grades
Pretty straightforward, right? The Redbirds fill an urgent need with a world-class player at a modest cost.
Arenado’s fielding was sublime again in 2020: He posted 15 defensive runs saved, more than double the National League’s closest third baseman, Manny Machado of the Padres, in winning his eighth Golden Glove in eight MLB seasons. He’s the ideal defensive replacement for Golden Glove second baseman Kolten Wong.
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But it’s at the plate that the Cardinals will appreciate Arenado the most. He averaged 40 home runs and 82 extra-base hits and posted a .937 OPS from 2015 to 2019 with the Rockies. His 2020 season was a flop (76+ OPS, his career low), but defenders can cite the twin excuses of a truncated season and a shoulder injury.
Critics, on the other hand, may cite a possible decline and criticize the fact that his home career divisions are wide: .985 OPS at Coors Field, .793 outside Denver. But even that lower end is way better than what the Cardinals have posted at the position in recent years. St. Louis sank even further last season when Matt Carpenter (.640) and Tommy Edman (.685) hit rock bottom. Edman is projected to move to second base and Carpenter can focus on being a utility player approaching every day at-bats.
There is a risk in this trade for the Cardinals. Arenado could decline physically in his 30s, and he may choose to exit his contract after the 2021 or 2022 seasons. The opt-out of the 22nd was one of the concessions that were made to close the deal. Another concession was to add a year and $ 15 million guaranteed until the end of the Arenado contract. Now he has seven years and $ 214 million left on his pact. St. Louis is taking the risk that it will turn into bad business in its later years.
First, start with the Colorado front office assuming 2021 would be the year of Arenado’s hike due to a strained relationship between the player and general manager Jeff Bridich. So consider that he sold you for what seems like pennies on the dollar.
Colorado hosted southpaw Austin Gomber and four minor leaguers: third baseman Elehuris Montero, rights Tony Locey and Jake Sommers and shortstop Mateo Gil. Montero goes to seventh in Rockies Top 30 Prospects List, According to MLB Pipeline. Locey is 15th, Gil 22nd and Sommers isn’t even in the top 30.
The 27-year-old Gomber is poised for a full-time role in the major leagues. He came back from shoulder and elbow ailments last year to post a 1.86 ERA in 29 innings. He made four solid starts at the end of the season, allowing an earned run in 15 2/3 innings. You can compete for a spot at the end of the rotation.
The other four are all wild cards. The 22-year-old Montero hit .188 in a half-season in Double-A in 2019, but is supposed to have power potential. Locey, 22, struck out 31 and walked 12 in 17 innings, all in relief, in ’19 after being selected in the University of Georgia draft in June. Gil, 20, and Sommers, 23, were on their way to playing Single-A last year before COVID-19 wiped out minor league ball.
That’s suboptimal performance for a franchise cornerstone in its prime. What’s worse, Colorado accepted that package even though it is reportedly paying $ 15 million of Arenado’s $ 35 million salary for 2021 and has promised to send St. Louis an additional $ 35 million if Arenado leaves. join the Cardinals after the 21st.
Even with all that money going to St. Louis, the Rox didn’t get one from Dylan Carlson, Nolan Gorman or Matthew Liberatore, the Cardinals’ three repeats in the MLB Pipeline top 100.
That is bad management at all times.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.