Trade 2: St. Louis Cardinals
Similar to Tulowitzki a few years ago, if Arenado were to be made available in talks, expect the Cardinals to be one of the first teams to inquire. Arenado talks about winning and, while St. Louis isn’t a dream destination for players, guys who play there know they will be given a chance to win every single year.
St. Louis hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2015, and they’re desperate to find a superstar. I know Matt Carpenter is great, but he should not be playing third base. If the Cardinals are given a chance to trade for a generational player, they will. They tried to last year with Giancarlo Stanton and failed. Personally, I think Arenado is a better player than Stanton. St. Louis won’t overpay, but they have a lot to offer and plenty of high-level pitching talent.
So here’s the trade…
St. Louis Cardinals receive: 3B Nolan Arenado
Carlos Martínez may be a surprise to some of you if he were to be traded at all, but during the season he was enthralled in rumors and had sort of a weird season, going from Opening Day starter to the DL to closer by the end of the year, and he quietly had a very good season. In 33 games, 18 starts, he had a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 118 innings, and he saved five games in the process. He’s under team control until 2021 and at a very good rate of $11.5 million per season. The Cardinals have so much young pitching talent that I think they’d be willing to part ways … and especially if Arenado is coming back.
Carson Kelly is an interesting prospect. He’s been “the future” for the Cardinals for three years now, and was the favorite to replace Yadier Molina at catcher when he retired … until the emergence of Andrew Knizner in the Cardinals’ system the last few years
In limited Major League time over three seasons, Kelly has been largely disappointing at the plate. In 62 career Major League games, he’s hit a meager .154 with zero home runs and 10 RBI in about 130 plate appearances. However, because he’s never had consistent playing time, and for the last three seasons he’s been so up and down between Triple-A and the Majors, so a change of scenery could be huge for him.
He just turned 24 a few months ago and he’s excellent defensively already. Hitting at Coors Field seems to help everyone, and if he got the at-bats over Tony Wolters, he would be a very viable major league option for Colorado, still with a high upside.
Luke Weaver has had an interesting few seasons in St. Louis. He was electric during the stretch run in 2017 and ended up making the rotation in 2018 and was very solid for most of the year. He was relegated to the bullpen when guys like Daniel Poncedeleon and Austin Gomber came into the mix, and he got roughed up a bit. Like Kelly, he’s a guy who could use a change of scenery and he could fill the role of a fifth starter or even the “Chris Rusin role” that the Rockies didn’t get great production out of last season.
He finished 2017 at 7-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 60 innings. In 2018, he was 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA in 25 starts and 30 games, although he gave up nine runs in his last three appearances which inflated the ERA a bit. He is under team control for at least four more years, and he just turned 25, so I think he would still be a very solid arm to get back.
Delvin Perez would be a serious wild card. A first-round pick in 2016, Perez fell in the draft after failing a drug test, but was still one of the higher-rated high school players in the draft. He has struggled in the minors since being drafted, but the upside is still very much there. He will be turning just 20 years old in November, and he has slightly improved on his poor showing in 2017.
For the Low-A State College Spikes in 2018, he hit just .213, but he did get on base at an over .300 clip.