Cardinals: Ex-teammate says Nolan Arenado best defensive 3B

Nolan Arenado is the total package, one former teammate says, who makes it clear not to underrate the Cardinals’ third baseman’s elite defense.

Much of the conversation surrounding St. Louis Cardinals prized acquisition Nolan Arenado has been about his offense, and rightfully so. He has established himself as one of the best offensive players in baseball, hitting at least 37 home runs in each season since 2015 and has a career slash line of .293/.349/.541.

But what about his defense?

It is something that has long been underrated, perhaps because Arenado is *that* good offensively. But he has won a Gold Glove in all eight years of his career at third base, often making the difficult plays look routine. His teammates have long lauded it and when speaking on MLB Network Radio, one of his former teammates, Ryan Spilborghs, sung his praises on the third baseman’s defensive prowess.

“I’ve seen Nolan’s swing this offseason and the left shoulder that was bothering him throughout last year is a non-issue. That bodes extremely well. His defense will never take a dive. That’s the best defensive third baseman you’ll ever see if you’re a Cardinals fan. That’s not hyperbole. His defense is off the charts. You have no idea what you’re getting. It’s baseball IQ off the charts. He’ll throw behind a runner where you never thought that anybody should even be there and he’ll get an out. I have Nolan No. 2 just because of the injury last year and recognizing (Anthony) Rendon for the wonderful season that he had.”

Arenado, 29, will go a long way toward the Cardinals improving their run prevention behind a pitching staff that comes with questions, especially in the back-end of the rotation. It is an invaluable resource for the Cardinals that, when looking at his production both offensively and defensively, vaults them into the conversation with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

Maybe they’re not at that level right now, of course. Both teams are clearly the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series. But Arenado at least makes it a discussion worth having, something the Cardinals could not say until they acquired him in the absolute fleecing of the Colorado Rockies.