Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Kiszla: With trade of Nolan Arenado feeling inevitable, are Rockies also messing up beautiful thing

The only people the Colorado Rockies take for granted more than their players are all you fans.

What’s the definition of heaping insult on top of injury to loyal customers?

At a time when our lovable losers in LoDo are threatening to push future Hall of Famer Nolan Arenado out the door, the Rockies are also quibbling over $750,000 with shortstop Trevor Story in arbitration.

Instead of heading to spring training with high hopes, your local baseball team will be packing headaches for the trip to Arizona.

 

QLE Posted: January 12, 2020 at 01:12 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nolan arenado, rockies, trevor story

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2020 at 06:17 AM (#5914890)
Arenado is owed 7/$234. He is a year younger than Rendon but a substantially worse hitter. He is a better defender than Rendon (per rfield and GGs) but appears to be in decline defensively. Which is just to say that even if we consider him equal or a bit better than Rendon, there's not a lot of excess value in that contract so the Rox shouldn't expect much in return (unless they eat money). Further, a team can sign Donaldson for many fewer years and likely lower AAV (Arenado gets $35 for each of the next 5 years). And, assuming the grievance goes the Cubs way, supposedly Bryant is available for (give or take) 2/$44. Or if the goals are very short-term, Betts and Lindor are available.

And from the Rox' owners' perspective, you've got to wonder what your GM is up to. (Or vice versa if the owners are driving this.) You just extended Arenado last year; the contract is slightly front-loaded with all those $35 M salaries. I think at the time of signing, Arenado would have been 2nd in position players to Trout this year, how much can he have declined? You knew this was coming. If you didn't want the financial commitment, why extend him? If you didn't think he'd age well, why extend him? If you've changed your mind about either of those things after one (excellent) season, what does that say about the quality of the decision-making and evaluation? It's one thing if something's gone clearly wrong in year 1, either with Arenado or the team (some major injuries, say ... or the owners invested with Madoff). Sure, if you've changed your mind, better to act quickly but not many people survive $234 M mistakes.

All that said, I'm not really expecting a deal here. But I do think it's an interesting hypothetical of whether you'd rather have Rendon at 7/$245 or Arenado at 7/$234 and how much talent would you give up if you prefer Arenado.
   2. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: January 12, 2020 at 08:18 AM (#5914891)
future Hall of Famer Nolan Arenado


Is he? Yeah, the 39 WAR thru age 28 is nice, but only 3 of Arenado's top 10 sims are in the HOF (Chipper, Jim Rice and the Duke). Taking a look at his top sims: Rolen has 70 WAR, but he can't even break 20% in the voting; Eric Chavez basically drove off a cliff in his thirties; Captain America got hurt; and Aramis Ramirez played 18 years but was never really a great player.
   3. The Duke Posted: January 12, 2020 at 08:53 AM (#5914896)
Rolen is at 50% this year
   4. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: January 12, 2020 at 10:14 AM (#5914904)
Is he? Yeah, the 39 WAR thru age 28 is nice, but only 3 of Arenado's top 10 sims are in the HOF (Chipper, Jim Rice and the Duke). Taking a look at his top sims: Rolen has 70 WAR, but he can't even break 20% in the voting; Eric Chavez basically drove off a cliff in his thirties; Captain America got hurt; and Aramis Ramirez played 18 years but was never really a great player.


Dick Allen should be in the HOF. Scott Rolen will be. Now you're up to half. Ramirez is only a comp at the most superficial level. Through age 28 he had only 1/3 the WAR of Arenado. Wright and Zimmerman got hurt. It might happen to Arenado, it might not. The only real cautionary tales are Green and Chavez, neither of whom were as good as Arenado. I'd take my chances.
   5. craigamazing Posted: January 12, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5914907)
The broader point is valid. The endless churn is depressing enough when you're good. When you've won one playoff game in a decade it's enough to turn you off the whole enterprise.

Arenado has shown the mildest signs of decline. This could be a red herring, or it could portend something significant. But if you don't eat that risk with a franchise icon like Arenado, when are you going to eat it? Selling him off assumes that fans are robotic bean counters that will not be turned off by completely depersonlizing player personnel decisions. That would be a false assumption.
   6. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: January 12, 2020 at 11:38 AM (#5914911)
His D has gone from extraordinary to merely good. Offensively, he's as reliable as it gets. And he's really not a "substantially worse" hitter than Rendon. Their career OPS+ figures are four points apart, which isn't substantial. Rendon has been better recently, but Arenado has been more consistently good. In 2016-7 he was worth 6.6 and 7.1 WAR, since then he's been worth 5.8 and 5.7. That's hardly a catastrophic decline. Given expected decline with age, this isn't a good contract - about what you'd expect to pay for a FA.

Basically, I'm agreeing that you shouldn't expect to get much in trade. But this also really doesn't look like an albatross, just a run-of-the-mill retail-price contract.
   7. puck Posted: January 12, 2020 at 11:49 AM (#5914912)
His D has gone from extraordinary to merely good.


Has it? I thought only BIS related numbers (which I believe is what BB-ref uses for WAR) went down, and that had to do with how they calculated things. Or maybe I'm mixing that up with UZR, but he never had the 2-3 D wins/year in UZR.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 12, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5914914)
And he's really not a "substantially worse" hitter than Rendon.


Yeah, that was just dumb. Before 2019, Arenado had a higher career OPS+ than Rendon, but Rendon had a career year (by far) last year, while Arenado just did what he always does.
   9. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 12, 2020 at 12:27 PM (#5914917)
His D has gone from extraordinary to merely good.

Has it? I thought only BIS related numbers (which I believe is what BB-ref uses for WAR) went down, and that had to do with how they calculated things. Or maybe I'm mixing that up with UZR, but he never had the 2-3 D wins/year in UZR.


By the new statcast metric, Arrenado just had his best fielding season in the last three years. He was +17 OAA (led MLB for 3B) in 2019 after being +8 in 2018.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5914920)

By the new statcast metric, Arrenado just had his best fielding season in the last three years. He was +17 OAA (led MLB for 3B) in 2019 after being +8 in 2018.


Likewise, UZR shows him having his best season since his 2013 rookie campaign, at +12.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 12, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5914921)
Taking a look at his top sims: Rolen has 70 WAR, but he can't even break 20% in the voting

Most of these have been addressed already, but comparing Arenado to Rolen (both good-hitting, great-fielding 3B), Arenado's profile seems likely to do better with the voters. Rolen has zero black ink and 0.57 MVP shares for his career; Arenado has already led the NL in homers three times and RBI twice, and has 2.03 MVP shares so far (5 straight top-10 finishes; Rolen had one in his career). They're similar in quality through age 28, but Arenado has gotten more recognition for it so far. (And, as noted above, Rolen looks like a good bet to get in anyway - he already has more votes through 151 ballots in the Tracker this year than he did in the entire election last year.)

Also, Ramirez is... not a good comp. Through 28, he was -28 in Rfield; Arenado is +118. He's also just not as good a hitter as Arenado, even accounting for context.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5914954)
In evaluating the current talent of players (or projecting them), you use only the last 3 or 4 years of data. Over the last 3 years, Rendon has a 143 OPS+ and 34 Rbat per 650 PA. Arenado has a 131 OPS+ or 27 Rbat per 650 PA. In such calculations, more recent seasons are weighed more heavily -- a simple Marcel of their OPS+s puts Rendon a smidgen higher at 145 (Arenado basically the same). Or just plain raw numbers sees Rendon at 310/397/556 while not playing half his games at Coors while Arenado is at 307/375/577 while playing half his games at Coors. Rendon is the better hitter.

FWIW, ZiPS projects Arenado to a 126 OPS+, 4.5 WAR and, alas, a top (hitting) comp of Aramis Ramirez. Steamer gives a 124 wRC+ and 4.9 WAR. We don't have ZiPS for Rendon yet and Steamer puts him at 133 wRC+ and 5.7 WAR. Note UZR considers these two to have been pretty even defensively the last two years and that's carried over to Steamer. Steamer projects a bigger offensive drop for Rendon than for Arenado (I'll WAG because he's a year older).

I am of course agnostic on exactly how good Arenado's defense is but it's good. We've seen lots of good defensive 3B maintain their defense through their 30s so, yes, as I said, it's not clear which of these guys you'd prefer. There seems more disagreement on just how good Rendon's defense is but it certainly seems to be at least average.

By the way, the Rox ZiPS projections are not promising. Arenado and Story look good, Blackmon looks average and then no other position player projects above 1.1 WAR (Rodgers). Some of that is playing time projections (almost nobody below the top 3 projected above 500 PA which will reduce the WAR). The pitching looks to be about average.

As to Arenado's HoF chances ... I'll go 60/40. He probably needs 30 more WAR. Obviously a MVP would help a lot but, as noted, he has regular good finishes plus he's got a ton of GG so he'll get that boost. The comps are a mix. I used first 7 "seasons", 75% at 3B, integration era. Boggs, Mathews and Schmidt lead the way. Then we get the two scary NA comps in Ken Boyer and Evan Longoria who are both really good comps for him. Boyer 2 years older in this stretch but Longoria the same age. Arenado is after those two, followed by the older Donaldson, Brett (good), Santo (OK but 2 years younger), Machado (3 years younger), Chipper (good), Wright (bad), Rolen (OK), Bando (bad). We can gloss past Wright -- obviously Arenado doesn't make it if he suffers a career-ending injury in the next few years.

That was everybody with 30+ WAR in their first 7 "seasons". Arenado has had nearly a full 7 seasons while most of these guys have had fewer PAs over these years (i.e. "season" 1 was a partial season, maybe even a cup of coffee). That's not a particularly big deal although Donaldson and Brett would cruise past him if we pro-rated their PAs. Of these 13 players, six were younger and 5 were the same ages.

By career OPS+ to that point, NA is the spitting image of Boyer and worse than everybody else, including 9 points behind Longoria. However that's probably solely due to his lousy rookie year and I'll WAG he'd fall in the middle if we looked at, say, seasons 5-7. He leads on dWAR by a good bit but there are 8 other good defenders here with at least 1 dWAR per year. If you're wondering, Beltre is way down this list, 15 WAR behind Arenado. My criteria miss Brooks because he had 3 cups of coffee but over the same ages, he would come in at the bottom of this list, equal in WAR to Bando.

Longoria is the most obvious comp as a near-contemporary at the same ages, only a 200 PA difference which is due to Longoria missing half of 2012. Coors makes the raw numbers uncomparable but Longoria wins on OPS+ by 9 but that is almost all due to that first year while Arenado wins on defense. Longoria had his first "down" year offensively at 28 so NA has survived that. Longoria though remained a solid hitter at ages 29 and even rebounded a good bit at 30. Over the last 3 years, he's been league-average.

Longoria regularly churned out 6-7 WAR seasons. As I mentioned, he missed half of 2012 and that was also his worst Rfield and he spent 1/3 of his time at DH (probably related). For ages 23-27 these guys are very close -- Longoria ahead 22 runs on Rbat, NA ahead 7 runs on defense, everything else in bWAR almost identical. Longoria comes up 2 wins ahead in 200 fewer PA.

There's nothing magical about that comp, it's just an example of what could well derail Arenado from the HoF. And of course it's possible Longoria will make the HoF although it looks pretty unlikely at this point. There are of course no magic HoF numbers but one for position players that I've noticed (but never "analysed") over the years is that a kinda minimum requirement is a 10-year run of at least 50 WAR (not necessarily the first 10 years ... 23-32 is a pretty common prime). That's the sort of thing that seems to get you on the radar but, on its own, usually isn't enough to get you over the line. Despite taking a big drop in year 7, Longoria did maintain as a 3+ WAR player for a while and did make it to 50 WAR in 10 seasons. With just 4 WAR since then and turning 34, it looks like he's one of the guys who won't add enough to stay on the radar.

Arenado has moved a step closer than Longoria and is an excellent bet for 50 WAR in his first 10 years (much less his best 10 consecutive) with a shot at 55. Even so, getting there requires remaining a 4-WAR player for the next 3 years which is hardly guaranteed.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: January 12, 2020 at 05:25 PM (#5914981)
hearing rumblings that the Cardinals have made a trade for Arenado.... (not sure how accurate Martinez, Libertore, Tyler O'Neil, and Dakota Hudson?) ---- actually hearing that it's the offer and not that it's been accepted... zero confirmation there on it being true though.
   14. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 12, 2020 at 07:20 PM (#5915009)
I agree with the article. Trading Arenado is nuts.
   15. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: January 12, 2020 at 08:14 PM (#5915015)
Ken Boyer may yet make the hall of fame. He's the kind of guy that if you give him enough chances in front of the VC, eventually they may let him through.
   16. bobm Posted: January 12, 2020 at 08:38 PM (#5915017)
   17. puck Posted: January 12, 2020 at 09:01 PM (#5915022)
By the way, the Rox ZiPS projections are not promising. Arenado and Story look good, Blackmon looks average and then no other position player projects above 1.1 WAR (Rodgers). Some of that is playing time projections (almost nobody below the top 3 projected above 500 PA which will reduce the WAR). The pitching looks to be about average.


That's pretty close to the year before. Not many position players projected to hit at league average. Because of park factors and the pitching imploded instead of just playing mostly to projections, people around here are focused on pitching. But the park-adjusted hitting was about as below league average as the pitching was. They could use help in lots of places. But instead it's back to the usual plan of hoping everyone has a career year at once.
   18. puck Posted: January 12, 2020 at 09:06 PM (#5915023)
[13] mlb.com: Cardinals emerging in Arenado talks (sources)


That's Morosi...has Morosi been the source of all the Arenado rumors in the first place? I read that on the internet, but I've heard not everything there is true.

The offer CFB mentions in #13 has been going around, as I read it somewhere too.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2020 at 10:09 PM (#5915040)
Ken Boyer may yet make the hall of fame. He's the kind of guy that if you give him enough chances in front of the VC, eventually they may let him through.

Boyer and Nettles should really be in.
   20. Sunday silence Posted: January 13, 2020 at 03:36 AM (#5915058)
and Bando, Bell and Allen. They are all very similar statistically. And except for Bell they all have fairly good narratives.
   21. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: January 13, 2020 at 08:57 AM (#5915066)
[pedant]They may have produced broadly similar value, but Allen is not at all similar statistically to Bell/Nettles/Boyer/Bando.[/pedant]
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 13, 2020 at 09:14 AM (#5915067)
and Bando, Bell and Allen. They are all very similar statistically. And except for Bell they all have fairly good narratives.

Bell and Bando, I get, but Allen is a full notch below Nettles to me. Same WAA, but Nettles has 10 extra WAR. You can't discount 5 average seasons.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: January 13, 2020 at 10:21 AM (#5915073)
You can't discount 5 average seasons.


I think you can discount them. You probably shouldn't ignore them entirely.

   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 13, 2020 at 10:36 AM (#5915080)
I think you can discount them. You probably shouldn't ignore them entirely.

I was using discount in it's meaning as a synonym for disregard.
   25. Rusty Priske Posted: January 13, 2020 at 02:16 PM (#5915155)
Trading Arenado now is announcing to your fanbase that you aren't trying... unless they got an absolute HAUL for him.
   26. Booey Posted: January 13, 2020 at 02:25 PM (#5915171)
Re: Allen, Bell, Nettles, Boyer, Bando -

Maybe one or two of them, but there's already plenty of 3B in the HOF from the last 60 years. The position is underrepresented because there were virtually no great 3B before the 1950's, but you don't make up for that by over representing the modern decades.
   27. bfan Posted: January 13, 2020 at 02:27 PM (#5915176)
If Arenado had a .799 OPS on the road last year (81 games enough of a sample size for you), then he was (using that number), in 2019, 14th out of 17 in OPS for 3B in MLB who had enough ABs to qualify, barely beating out Manny Machado's .796. It is going to take an awful lot of fielding prowess to get his way back into the upper half of 3B in MLB. He is known; he is consistent; he is solid. I do not get superstar out of that number; I get "gifted by the home field in which he plays". However, he is paid as a superstar.
   28. Booey Posted: January 13, 2020 at 02:41 PM (#5915190)
To add on to #26, all of the top 10 3B (by JAWS) and 19 of the top 20 (Frank Baker is 13th) played their entire careers from the 1950's to the 2010's. You can't induct them all. The modern decades are already well represented.
   29. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2020 at 03:44 PM (#5915262)
If Arenado had a .799 OPS on the road last year (81 games enough of a sample size for you), then he was (using that number), in 2019, 14th out of 17 in OPS for 3B in MLB who had enough ABs to qualify, barely beating out Manny Machado's .796. It is going to take an awful lot of fielding prowess to get his way back into the upper half of 3B in MLB. He is known; he is consistent; he is solid. I do not get superstar out of that number; I get "gifted by the home field in which he plays". However, he is paid as a superstar.

Is this ranking everyone by road OPS? Because some amount of home field advantage is normal. (And I believe people have studied hitters who left the Rockies, and found that projecting them based on their park-adjusted overall performance was more accurate than just using their road performance.)
   30. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: January 13, 2020 at 04:45 PM (#5915309)
Is this ranking everyone by road OPS? Because some amount of home field advantage is normal. (And I believe people have studied hitters who left the Rockies, and found that projecting them based on their park-adjusted overall performance was more accurate than just using their road performance.)


Kris Bryant actually had a higher road OPS last year than home... though, for his career, he's about 40 points higher at home.

I agree on the general point, but it is a pretty pronounced split...
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: January 13, 2020 at 06:00 PM (#5915350)
Is this ranking everyone by road OPS? Because some amount of home field advantage is normal. (And I believe people have studied hitters who left the Rockies, and found that projecting them based on their park-adjusted overall performance was more accurate than just using their road performance.)''


On top of that, he doesn't get the benefit of playing road games in Coors like the rest of the NLers do, and 1/3 of his road games are in severe pitcher's parks.

   32. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2020 at 06:27 PM (#5915363)
On top of that, he doesn't get the benefit of playing road games in Coors like the rest of the NLers do, and 1/3 of his road games are in severe pitcher's parks.

Actually, on top of (on top of that), B-R has Arenado's road OPS in 2019 as .866, not .799. .799 is his career number, which includes his less-impressive early seasons. (You can use the career number if you want, but don't compare it to everyone else's single-season performance in a high-offense year.)
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2020 at 06:42 PM (#5915367)
Among third baseman... ops on the road(overall ops)
Alex Bregman 1.109 (1.015)
Anthony Rendon .978 (1.010)
Eugenio Suarez .895(.930)
Miguel Sano 1.010(.923)
Rafael Devers .911 (.916)
Yoan Moncada .909(.915)
Kris Bryant .909(.903)
Josh Donaldson .785(.900)
Gio Urshela .902 (.889)
Justin Turner .828(.881)
Hunter Dozier .891 (.870)
Matt Chapman .770 (.848)
Mike Moustakas .920 (.845)
Eduardo Escobar .774 (.831)
Jose Ramirez .827 (.831)
Manny Machado .882(.796)
Kyle Seager .843 (.789)


Arenado .866 (.962) (not sure where that .799 came from up above)


Note I have a base list of 27 players who played at least 80 games at third base last year, only pointing out the top 18, and of that 18... it's pretty clear (if I would have included rfield numbers like I was going to) that Arenado is behind Bregman and Rendon.... whether you use his road or his combined numbers, but with his defense ahead of pretty much everyone else or at least in a good debate with them, of course a few guys have higher upside going forward....but I'm pretty comfortable thinking that whichever league he is in, he'll be on the short list for the next couple of years for all star considerations---barring a collapse or injury of course, and no matter the franchise.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Guts
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogNicholas Castellanos deal with Reds | MLB.com
(33 - 10:30am, Jan 28)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - January, 2020
(286 - 10:29am, Jan 28)
Last: the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB).

NewsblogCubs expressing interest in free agent second baseman Scooter Gennett
(3 - 10:14am, Jan 28)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogPosnanski: Baseball 100 Rules
(455 - 10:00am, Jan 28)
Last: gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant

NewsblogFortified White Sox say they’re ready to contend again
(18 - 9:48am, Jan 28)
Last: My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread 2020
(768 - 9:41am, Jan 28)
Last: eric

NewsblogClass action lawsuit filed against MLB, Astros, Red Sox on behalf of DraftKings players
(12 - 9:36am, Jan 28)
Last: David Nieporent (now, with children)

NewsblogDustin Pedroia and the Pricey Guarantees of MLB Contracts
(6 - 9:17am, Jan 28)
Last: Scott Ross

NewsblogESPN is reportedly removing Jessica Mendoza from Sunday Night Baseball
(3 - 9:09am, Jan 28)
Last: Jose Is Absurdly Chatty

Hall of Merit2021 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(160 - 8:58am, Jan 28)
Last: progrockfan

NewsblogMLB Umpires to Explain Replay Review Decisions Via Microphone for 2020 Season
(6 - 8:58am, Jan 28)
Last: Jose Is Absurdly Chatty

NewsblogStarling Marte, D-backs trade | MLB.com
(32 - 7:50am, Jan 28)
Last: Buck Coats

NewsblogWhere a Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor trade would rank among winter blockbusters
(17 - 5:11am, Jan 28)
Last: Ben Broussard Ramjet

NewsblogRyan Braun knows 'it's possible' this is his final year with Brewers, and perhaps as player
(12 - 1:52am, Jan 28)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogMLB rumors: Former Giants GM Bobby Evans interviewed for Astros job
(2 - 11:02pm, Jan 27)
Last: The Duke

Page rendered in 0.4073 seconds
46 querie(s) executed