Does Arenado Make the Cards Favorite to Win NL Central?
After Friday night's blockbuster trade was announced we now know the St. Louis Cardinals will boast one of the best power hitting duos in Major League Baseball.
BREAKING: Cardinals have agreed to acquire Nolan Arenado from Rockies, sources tell @TheAthletic. Deal pending appr… https://t.co/dCqjyqLRNp— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken Rosenthal) 1611974622.0
Ken Rosenthal (The Athletic) broke the news about the Colorado Rockies agreeing to send all-star third baseman, Nolan Arenado, to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for around $50 million and a package of players that were yet to be determined. Colorado who signed Arenado just two years ago to an eight year extension, is obviously looking to hit the rest button on their organization if they're willing to part ways with their five time all-star at the hot corner.
Deal unlikely to be official tonight and maybe even not this weekend. Arenado will need to formally waive his no-tr… https://t.co/YR8x8Wa7dF— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken Rosenthal) 1611975537.0
Speculation about whether Rockies' shortstop, Trevor Story, will be the next piece to find its way out of Colorado. Story's two year contract expires after this season and in the offseason he will become a highly sought after, and highly priced unrestricted free agent. The Rockies haven't traditionally been an organization that pays its players once their big payday comes due. Arenado was an exception to that, and look how quickly they got his contract off their books.
The Rockies: “We’ll just trade Arenado and with the money we save we’ll sign Trevor Story.” Trevor Story and his a… https://t.co/2CRPwj8oCq— Al Smizzle (@Al Smizzle) 1611977785.0
It would make sense then for Colorado to also attempt to find a trade partner for Story before the trade deadline as he is far too valuable to lose for nothing. Story would certainly fetch a couple top prospects to help bolster their farm system. But let's get back to the real story which is Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals, and after mentioning top prospects that brings me to Dylan Carlson.
MLB Pipeline is just announcing its new national top 100 prospect list for 2021. For the #stlcards: 13. Dylan Carl… https://t.co/Q1Lc6X6l3w— Brian Walton (@Brian Walton) 1611883809.0
The Cardinals got a small sample size from one of baseball's top prospects in the form of outfielder, Dylan Carlson. In the truncated 2020 MLB season we only saw Carlson in 35 games, and at one point was sent down to the minors. Upon his return late in the year he looked like a different hitter and was performing well enough to be slotted in at the cleanup spot in the lineup going into the playoffs.
With the pending arrival of Arenado, it's likely that Carlson will be bumped down a few spots in the lineup which should actually benefit him by putting him in more situations with runners on base resulting in him seeing better pitches to hit. From a fantasy perspective, this could make Carlson a sneaky bet to end the season with an RBI total towards the top of the league if he has Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt getting on base ahead of him.
Goldschmidt will be at the other corner opposite Arenado, and they're a good bet to be back to back in most of the lineups the Cardinals deploy this season which should already be causing headaches for opposing pitchers. Both players saw dips in their power numbers in 2020, but so did a lot of players and it shouldn't be something we're concerned about unless we see those trends creep their way deep into the start of 2021.
Traditionally we know that Arenado and Goldschmidt are both elite hitters in the league and have proven it year over year for nearly a decade. Arenado and Goldschmidt both came from similar situations where they were asked to carry a lot of the load for their previous teams, but in St. Louis there always seems to be help for their stars even if it comes from unsuspecting places. With one of the best front offices and farm systems in baseball, the Cards have continuously revamped and revitalized their roster by developing talent and meticulously signing free agents. A trade of this magnitude hasn't been seen in St. Louis since they received Mark McGwire from the Oakland A's.
In a league where you have to chase teams like the Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Astros along with up and coming organizations like the Padres making moves this offseason, St. Louis must have felt like they needed something to keep them in that conversation of World Series contenders. In the Arenado trade they got more than something, and it may make them the favorites to win the NL Central.
Here's a look at what we project St. Louis' batting order to look like after the trade.
1. 2B Tommy Edman
2. SS Paul DeJong
3. 3B Nolan Arenado
4. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
5. LF Dylan Carlson
6. RF Dexter Fowler
7. C Yadier Molina
8. CF Harrison Bader