Cardinals: Meet Nolan Arenado’s toughest competition for NL MVP
Meet Manny Machado, who will be St. Louis Cardinals star Nolan Arenado’s toughest competition for the National League MVP award.
When Nolan Arenado was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, he was mentioned as one of the best third baseman in baseball. The other name in that conversation? Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres.
Early on, it appears they are the early favorites to win National League MVP. Let’s compare the two:
Arenado: .330/.400/.621 with a 1.021 OPS, seven home runs, 24 RBI in 115 plate appearances.
Machado: .381/.454/.628 with a 1.082 OPS, seven home runs, 21 RBI in 130 plate appearances.
As of right now, Machado is the frontrunner. While Arenado has been special, Machado has somehow been even better, though Arenado’s defensive metrics (four defensive runs saved and three outs above average) are better than Machado (two defensive runs saved and three outs above average) this season.
It’s early, of course, and there are still 130 games to be played. Ups and downs will happen. So will injuries. But unless someone else comes surging, the MVP race will end up being between Arenado and Machado, and that adds another layer to what is already an exciting season for the Cardinals as they battle the Brewers in the NL Central.
As for Arenado, winning the MVP very well may cement his status as a Hall of Fame player. Just look at his accomplishments already: six-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glover and four-time Silver Slugger. The only things missing from that resume are an MVP and playoff accolades, though the latter can be traced to spending the first eight years of his career with the Colorado Rockies.
Arenado could not have timed his breakout any better, as he has the ability to opt-out of his contract after the season and become a free agent. The payday could be massive, as he’s set to make $35 million in 2023 and 2024 ($27 million in 2026 and $15 million in 2027), leaving Arenado and his agent with a massive decision once the season ends.
And winning the MVP may make that decision even more complicated.