St. Louis Cardinals: Early thoughts about the Nolan Arenado Trade
In one of their most complex, aggressive, and creative trades in franchise history, the St. Louis Cardinals seemed to have addressed some of their offensive issues for the foreseeable future. By acquiring Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies, in one bold move, have made the Cardinals true pennant contenders for 2021.
Although all the details have yet to be fully released, it appears to include waiving and then reinstalling a no-trade clause, an additional year, opt-out years, and significant salary relief. It also includes the Cardinals sending over multiple players who have not yet been fully identified. The names mentioned, but not yet confirmed, are Austin Gomber, Luken Baker, Jhon Torres, Jake Woodford, and Angel Rondon.
Nevertheless, it appears Nolan Arenado will be wearing the birds on a bat when the season opens on April 1st. It also appears Arenado will be a staple in the Cardinals lineup for a long time.
So, there is a lot to be excited about here for Cardinal fans. However, does this contract create some concerns in the future for the St. Louis Cardinals? It’s worth taking a look at both the Pros and Cons of this deal.
Most of the positives are easy to see:
(1) Arenado brings his bat which has an eight-year slash line of .293/.349/.541 with four consecutive years of 37 or more home runs and 110 or more RBI and four Silver Slugger Awards.
(2) His eight Gold Gloves and four Platinum Gloves along with the Gold Gloves of Paul Goldschmidt makes the 2021 infield the best since the heady days of Rolen, Renteria, and Pujols.
(3) The Rockies are giving the Cardinals $50 million in salary relief. While this may be paid out over multiple years, it helps a ton. This is especially important to a club that was concerned about the revenue situation in 2021 but looks for better times by 2022.
(4) The Cardinals didn’t give up any of their top prospects, which means Dylan Carlson, Nolan Gorman, Matthew Liberatore, and Ivan Herrera are still with the organization.
(5) This will take the pressure off the organization to push through Nolan Gorman in the minor league and give him more time to develop. In other words, the future of third base looks secure for years to come.
(6) This move doesn’t at all block Gorman with the DH coming to the NL ( which seems to be inevitable). With the DH, Arenado’s later years could be as a DH, giving the Cardinals the flexibility they wouldn’t have had if they re-signed Albert Pujols.
(7). The deal not only makes the Cardinals a pennant contender in 2021 but establishes the club as a contender for the next 3-4 years.
(1) Along with the Goldschmidt contract, the deal does tie down the Cardinals to two players well into their late 30s. We’ve seen how the organization has been horse collared with bad contracts recently. I’m not saying Arenado’s and Goldschmidt’s contracts are bad, but from this point forward, let’s hope the Cardinals avoid another Fowler and Carpenter type of contract.
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(2) No Trade Clause. (‘nough said)
(3) I’ve got to bring up the home/away batting splits because they’re significant. His home slash line is .322/.376/.609, while his away splits are .263/.322/.471, which returns him down to Earth. Can he adjust away from Coors Field? For a view who thinks he can, check out Dan Buffa’s piece on the trade and why the splits don’t concern him.
These are just some early thoughts on a deal that hasn’t yet been made public or even finalized. However, from what we have heard, I like it, and John Mozeliak can sit at the cool kid’s table again.
As I said earlier in the piece, I believe this has moved the Cardinals from being questionable to even make the postseason, to real contenders. Not just this year, but at least through 2024 or even 2025.
There are concerns about the length of this deal, the money committed to the future, and Arenado’s home and away splits. Nonetheless, good hitters can adjust and from what we have seen, Arenado is one of the best.
Hopefully, we will see a full season of Nolan Arenado in a Cardinal uniform in 2021, and the impact he makes on this team.