Evaluating the rumored St. Louis Cardinals-Nolan Arenado trade package

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 12: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies fields a ball hit by Jose Martinez of the St Louis Cardinals inning in the sixth inning at Coors Field on September 12, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 12: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies fields a ball hit by Jose Martinez of the St Louis Cardinals inning in the sixth inning at Coors Field on September 12, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies
Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies /

So is the trade package worth it?

In my opinion, no.

It falls a little short due to current questions around Hudson and O’Neill even though you’d be shedding quite a bit of salary. While Martinez brings you good current Major League value, we’ve seen previously dominant relief pitchers come in a fail dramatically (oh hi Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw). The two seasons of control are probably fitting (especially since the Cardinals could “only” get two seasons of Arenado) but if the Rockies aren’t aiming to compete in those two seasons, then his $11.5M salary is not as worth it.

In regards to Hudson and O’Neill, there are too many question marks around each. Hudson had a pretty good 2019 but his peripheral numbers suggest he may have had some good fortune (and his park adjusted stats don’t seem all too impressive for Coors). And O’Neill seems like such an extreme hitter that still needs a bit of fine-tuning. Both would fit in better if the idea is to rebuild, but if they still feel that they’re competitive after a Nolan trade, then this doesn’t make as much sense.

Liberatore is the main piece that would make this trade worth it as it would give you a really good pitcher who can start to provide you some value in 2022 and 2023 (given proper acceleration through the minors).

The current package banks on too much hope and depends too much on Colorado’s current state of mind and whether they’ll still aim to compete in the next two seasons or if they want to rebuild. If an outfielder is to come in a deal with the Cardinals (as is apparently a reported need), then someone like Harrison Bader makes more sense than O’Neill as his improved defensive skills in 2019 would be better at Coors than O’Neill’s boom or bust power. A deal with the Cardinals would also likely need to include 3B Nolan Gorman (No. 38 overall prospect in MLB).

3 Colorado players under plenty of pressure in 2020. dark. Next

While this package feels light, it gives us an idea of what teams may give up for Arenado. Any trade package for Arenado is going to feel underwhelming from the Rockies perspective, but we’ll have to wait and see if this is going to be the type of trade package we can expect in any trade talks.

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