SocraticGadfly: Arenado to the Cardinals? Really? Wow ... and affordable

January 30, 2021

Arenado to the Cardinals? Really? Wow ... and affordable

Who stuck the poker up the collective ass of Mo and Girsch to do this baby?

Per Red Satan and MLB Trade Rumors, this pending trade for All-Star third sacker Nolan Arenado ain't finalized yet, as the deal must be approved by Commish Corleone because the Rockies are eating part of his contract and by the MLBPA because he's deferring money.

The Cards aren't giving up a lot. Reportedly it would be Austin Gomber, who has a fair amount of potential ... but who knows the reality ... and not much else. Prospects. (MLBTR has the likely list. It's not much.)

Arenado did tumble last year, but could certainly rebound.

It is weird because, as MLBTR notes, Mo/Girsch were cheap asses in the offseason for now, exemplified by declining Kolten Wong's option. But, then, the team gave Adam Wainwright a healthy $8M to come back another year (Waino claims he had better offers from two other teams), and is now in talks to bring back Yadier Molina, and from what I know, Yadi's desire for a 2-year deal has not been scotched.

So, now, the wallet, or as Bernie Miklasz once punned, DeWallet of DeWitt, is open again.

As for the Cards? Matt Carpenter is clearly the odd man out if this goes down. The Cards are fortunate that he has only one guaranteed year left. (He is NOT getting 550 PAs this year, so no vesting for 2022, at least not with St. Louis. A trade is always possible.)

Details, as noted, are sketchy. "Prospects" aren't yet named. The Rockies would eat about $50M of the contract. Arenado would take some deferrals, but no details yet on how much. He'd keep his opt-outs, but move that a year — probably not more than 1 year — per Rosenthal, he'd keep his post-2021 as well get an additional one post-2022 so the Cards would have him 2 years guaranteed. He'd also, says MLBTR in an update, get one more total year.

Update: I originally understood this as he would have just the one opt-out and it would move back a year, hence the material now crossed out. Given how little the Cards are giving up, I still don't think it's bad. And, given that we'll be in another COVID-affected year, I doubt he opts out after 2021. So, it's not a big deal for him to keep the 2021 opt-out AND get another. It does make things a little more dicey, though. But not much. Let's say the Cards only have him for two years. For what they're giving up, it's still a good deal.
Update 2: Rosenthal, Red Satan, or both, had some possibly incorrect info, at least on what was being agreed to post-trade. The two opt-outs, per a new Red Satan piece to which I shall not link, are after 2022 and 2023. So, the Cards have him for two years, guaranteed, and he says he has no plans to leave anyway. I think. Maybe he now has THREE opt-out years, the original one after 2021 AND the two new ones???

Back to the original thread.

And, a bunch of money comes off the books in 2022, per Cot's Contracts. Besides Carp, Dexter Fowler is also out of contract next year. Andrew Miller's option for this year vested, but he won't be back at $12M in 2022. And, the enigmatic, injury-challenged, Carlos Martinez will surely be offered a $500K buyout after this year rather than the team picking up his $17M option unless he has a hell of a turnaround.

That would make Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt the only players on the team, right now, guaranteed to make more than $10 million in 2022, barring Yadi getting a guaranteed two-year deal with that scratch.

The team might try a "sign-out" of his third year of arbitration plus free agency on Jack Flaherty, or more likely, if this year, his second and third arb years plus one year, maybe two, on FA. John Gant is the only third-year arbitration player in 2021.

It's also interesting that ONLY Mo, not Girsch, was handling the Arenado rumors.

That said, Paul DeJong is signed through at least 2023, and it's likely the team picks up both of his option years. Tommy Edman presumably slots into Wong's position and becomes the regular second baseman. He doesn't even clear his arb years until 2025. Goldy's signed through 2024, so, for better or for worse, the Cards' infield is definitely set for two years with Arenado, and if he opts in, for at least four, in all likelihood.
Looking ahead? I'd pay for one good starter in free agency next year. They can be a soft-tosser to some degree, as long as they're good and give indications of not having and not being likely to have arm problems. With Fowler gone, if none of the kids in the OF makes a step forward, then it will be time to look at how to address that, too.

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