Cardinals’ offseason target: Nolan Arenado
As the 2018 Winter Meetings approach, the BND will take a look at the pros and cons of either signing or trading for the players they’ve been connected to through rumors this offseason.
According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Derrick Goold, the Cardinals would really like to trade for Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.
And there’s good reason for St. Louis to target Arenado: He plays gold glove defense at a position the Cardinals would like to upgrade while also providing the type of bat the lineup desperately needs.
He also won’t come cheap in a trade, which would require the Cardinals to put together a premium package if they want to bring the four-time all-star to Busch Stadium in 2019.
Here are the pros and cons of trading for Arenado.
Why St. Louis should trade for Nolan Arenado
Arenado would fix that. In the past four seasons, he hasn’t hit fewer than 37 home runs in a season, and he’s slugged more than 40 twice in that stretch. Those four seasons with 30+ home runs are more 30 homer seasons than St. Louis has had in the past seven years.
But Arenado is more than just a “three true outcomes” hitter. In addition to his 186 career homers, Arenado has 222 career doubles and a career batting average of .291. He’s also accumulated 33.1 WAR during his career. His is the type of bat that would also provide protection for other hitters in the St. Louis lineup, namely Marcell Ozuna.
Defensively, he provides elite defense at the hot corner. Arenado has six gold gloves in six seasons and would be a significant upgrade at third base over Matt Carpenter. Adding Arenado would allow St. Louis to keep Carpenter at first base and Paul DeJong at shortstop while giving their young pitchers a much-improved infield defense.
Why St. Louis should not trade for Nolan Arenado
But that in itself is what could be the biggest negative for Arenado, because the Rockies have little reason to trade him.
Arenado has one year remaining on his contract — he’s projected to receive $26.1 million in his final year of arbitration — and the Rockies are focused on making one more postseason run.
The only way the Rockies would consider trading Arenado, is if he makes it clear he’s not interested in signing an extension to stay in Colorado. Even if the Rockies do trade Arenado, they could still be in a position to contend in 2019 — they’ve been connected to DJ LeMahieu and their top two prospects are third basemen.
While no one has posted any ideas of what a St. Louis-Colorado trade would look like, it’s safe to assume a deal for Arenado would include many of the same pieces as a deal for Goldschmidt. That would mean Austin Gomber, Dakota Hudson and Ryan Helsely would all be on the table.
And with the Rockies still believing they can contend for either the NL West title or another wild card berth in 2019, it’s likely safe to assume that Colorado would hold out for more in a trade than the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks would for Paul Goldschmidt.
That would be a pretty hefty price St. Louis would have to pay — and that’s before paying him in 2019 and trying to resign him so he’s in St. Louis beyond next season.
Of all the names St. Louis has been connected to so far this offseason, Nolan Arenado seems like the best fit. His ability to improve the lineup alone makes him a valuable target. Add in that he would also singificantly improve the Cardinals defense and he feels like the player St. Louis should make their top priority. What he brings to the table is worth more than the package St. Louis would have to trade to land him. And contending in 2019 would certainly give Arenado a reason to stay in St. Louis, but even if he doesn’t, a trade would signal that the front office isn’t afraid of making a bold move to get the Cardinals back to the postseason.
Do you think the Cardinals would be better with Nolan Arenado, or should they focus their attention elsewhere? You can comment on the 618 Sports Facebook page and share your thoughts with other fans of the St. Louis baseball team.