It has been almost a week since the Colorado Rockies traded away star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the Saint Louis Cardinals in exchange for five players, including left-handed starting pitcher Austin Gomber. This Nolan Arenado trade analysis will look at both sides of the trade.
This was quite the shocking move from Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich, especially due to the fact that Arenado had recently signed an eight-year contract extension worth $260 million, as well as being heralded the “future of the franchise”. What makes matters worse is that the prospects that Colorado received in return weren’t exactly the best, and many believe that the Cardinals “fleeced” them in this deal.
In addition to Arenado, St. Louis will also receive $51 million dollars to help cover the star infielder’s massive contract, which is now valued at around $200 million dollars. Let us get into the Arenado trade analysis below, where I will reveal the details and advanced baseball metrics.
Arenado Trade Analysis: Details and Grades for Both Teams
Arenado Trade Overview
In the Nolan Arenado deal, the official trade is as follows:
St. Louis Receives:
- Third baseman Nolan Arenado
- $51 million in cash considerations
- Left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber
- Minor League infielder Elehuris Montero
- Minor League pitcher Tony Locey
- Minor League infielder Mateo Gil
- Minor League pitcher Jake Sommers
Arenado Trade Analysis
After looking at such an impressive deal on paper for the Cardinals, let us take a minute to see who exactly the Cardinals are getting, as well as what the Rockies are receiving in return.
First off, we start with the headliner in the blockbuster trade, which is of course the starting third baseman himself. Over his time in Colorado, Arenado has compiled five All-Star game selections, eight Gold Glove awards, four Platinum Glove awards, four Silver Slugger awards, as well as leading the NL in home runs three times. Looking at his basic statistics, Arenado is a career .293 hitter, with 235 home runs and 760 RBIs in eight seasons with Colorado.
On the more advanced side of statistics, Arenado has posted a career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 39.1, as well as a dWAR (defensive WAR) of 14.7. With all of these accolades, one might wonder to themself why the Rockies were so keen on shipping him out for so little in return. Before we take a look at that, let us see what the Rockies got in return.
First, the Rockies receive Austin Gomber, a left-handed pitcher who played both as a starter and a long reliever while with the Cardinals, compiling a 7-3 record, with a 3.72 ERA over two seasons. His pitch arsenal includes a fastball, a changeup (considered to be his best pitch), a curveball, and a slider.
Also headed to Denver are minor league infielders Elehuris Montero and Mateo Gil, who have both put up solid numbers. Montero’s best year came in 2018, where he split time between Class A Peoria and High-A Palm Beach, with a line of .315/.370/.504, as well as having an OPS (OBP + SLG) of .910. Gil has spent time in the Gulf Coast League and Appy League, putting up decent numbers over a small portion of games.
In addition to those three, the two other prospects that the Rockies received, Tony Locey and Jake Sommers, have only played one year in rookie ball, posting 17.1 innings and 51.2 innings respectively, meaning that the sample size is relatively small.
Arenado Trade Analysis: Grades
Cardinals Grade: A+
While this might seem over-ambitious to give the Cardinals a perfect score for this trade, there is hardly any criticisms to be found for general manager John Mozeliak in receiving the best third baseman in the MLB and $50 million, in exchange for some mid-tier prospects and a number five starting pitcher at the best. This was the big move that the St. Louis organization and their fans had been looking for since the 2019 offseason, as well as finally adding that ‘big bat’ that they had been lacking last season.
Although they suffered the loss of starting second baseman Kolten Wong to the division rival Milwaukee Brewers, the versatile Tommy Edman will move to fill the position to make way for the incoming Arenado. This, of course, means that St. Louis will finally have someone to hit behind their powerful first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who came over in a similar deal two years earlier from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Overall, this is one of the best moves of the 21st century for the St. Louis Cardinals front office, as well as one that has sparked instant fan interest, and a feeling that this team might be capable of making a deep playoff run in 2021.
Rockies Grade: F
It’s truly hard to spin this positively for the Colorado franchise, as they traded arguably one of their best players in franchise history, in exchange for almost nothing. This trade signaled an end to a rough relationship between Arenado and the Rockies front office, just two years after signing his eight-year, 260 million dollar deal, which has now been reconstructed to include opt-outs after 2021 and 2022, although that is unlikely according to Arenado himself. The source of this “divorce” (if you will) is that Arenado simply felt that the Colorado front office was not doing a good enough job of building around him, leading to the massive headliner deal that sent yet another NL West icon to St. Louis.
This has particularly reflected poorly on the Rockies front office, and many fans across the nation are calling for GM Jeff Bridich to be fired for his poor decision making. There is simply no way that the package of players that Colorado received in return even come close to measuring up to the star power of Nolan Arenado, and it gets even worse when one remembers the $51 million they sent to cover the contract.
Coupled with the fact that the Rockies may try and trade All-Star shortstop Trevor Story in the coming weeks, it might be another long rebuild for the fans at Coors Field.
Main Image: Embed from Getty Images