No. 3: Nolan Arenado
It’s hard to believe that someone who is currently an MVP candidate would be the third most untouchable player in the Cardinals organization, but Nolan Arenado’s impending contract decision will player a major role in his value for the ballclub.
Arenado is hitting .290/.352/.539 with 17 HR and 55 RBI while continuing his Gold Glove level defense in 2022. After winning NL Player of the Month in April, Arenado slowed down a bit, but has begun to go on another hot streak as of late for St. Louis.
The 31 year old’s MVP like season has caused many around the league to speculate if he will opt out of the 6 years, $179 million remaining on his contract to grab a higher number on the open market. While it would still be likely that the Cardinals would be the team to sign him at the higher number, the club could be looking at a deal in the 7 year, $245 million dollar range. That is a large price tag to pay for a player on the wrong side of 30.
No one should expect regression from Arenado any time soon, the slugger already has gotten back to his elite performances that fans were used to seeing when he played in Colorado. The issue, when talking about untouchable assets, is what version of Arenado the Cardinals will have in 2025 and beyond. Will Arenado perform at the level to justify making $30-35 million a year in his mid-late 30s?
If it wasn’t for being on the same team as the current MVP favorite in the NL and perhaps one of the most exciting prospects in all of baseball, Arenado would easily be the most untouchable player on St. Louis. His ranking at #3 has much more to say about the level of assets the Cardinals currently have than it does anything negative about Arenado.