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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

What led Nolan Arenado to feel “disrespected” by Rockies

The winter of Nolan Arenado‘s discontent took root last autumn.

Frustrated and disillusioned by the Rockies’ 71-win season, the Rockies’ all-star third baseman met with general manager Jeff Bridich shortly after the season ended and argued that the team needed to make aggressive moves in the offseason in order to improve. But when Bridich told Arenado that the Rockies were largely going to stand pat this winter, he expressed his displeasure.

The conversation turned confrontational and soured the relationship, according to sources. That relationship has not mended.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 06:29 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nolan arenado, rockies

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   1. puck Posted: January 22, 2020 at 10:42 AM (#5918218)
His opt out is after the 2021 season. So when do they trade him? 2020 trade deadline, the offseason, or the 2021 trade deadline?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2020 at 10:49 AM (#5918221)
His opt out is after the 2021 season. So when do they trade him? 2020 trade deadline, the offseason, or the 2021 trade deadline?

He's fairly paid. He has virtually no trade value. See:

the-nolan-arenado-trade-problem

They should just fire Bridich and keep Arenado. He's a shitty GM anyway.
   3. Adam Starblind Posted: January 22, 2020 at 10:55 AM (#5918230)
Is that true though? Where is a team going to get a 5-win third baseman unless they sign one at market value or trade for one?
   4. aberg Posted: January 22, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5918280)
Is that true though? Where is a team going to get a 5-win third baseman unless they sign one at market value or trade for one?


That pretty much exahusts the list of ways to acquire players, unless you draft and develop one. Also, two of these just came off the market (Rendon and Donaldson) and another is allegedly available via trade (Bryant).

If he really is paid exactly fairly, then it sholdn't hurt the team much if they have to trade him. If they get anything back in terms of prospects and reinvest most of the money, they could theoretically come out ahead (depending on how much you buy the linearity of $/WAR).
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:01 PM (#5918284)
If he really is paid exactly fairly, then it sholdn't hurt the team much if they have to trade him. If they get anything back in terms of prospects and reinvest most of the money, they could theoretically come out ahead (depending on how much you buy the linearity of $/WAR).

But of course they won't reinvest the money. Or they'll spend it on a bunch of 1-2 WAR veterans and relievers who immediately suck.

Why would you give a terrible GM the responsibility of replacing Arenado's talent?
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5918289)
That pretty much exahusts the list of ways to acquire players, unless you draft and develop one.


I guess you could also technically move one that you already have from a different position to third base.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:12 PM (#5918291)
To be pedantic, you could also acquire one by waivers (Justin Turner).
   8. Adam Starblind Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5918293)
I think Turner was non-tendered.
   9. Adam Starblind Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:15 PM (#5918294)
Anyway, my point is Arenado does have trade value -- to a team that wants to add a couple of wins by improving at third base. Teams trade future production (prospects) for current production (good players) all the time. It's not a matter of excess value in the contract itself.
   10. aberg Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5918300)
Anyway, my point is Arenado does have trade value -- to a team that wants to add a couple of wins by improving at third base. Teams trade future production (prospects) for current production (good players) all the time. It's not a matter of excess value in the contract itself.


Yes, this idea seems to hit at what's going on to me. Regardless of what Arenado wants- he did sign the contract, afterall- the Rockies dont' seem to value wins 3, 4, or 5 that he provides above an average 3B and for which he is compensated at market value. A team like the Braves or Nationals, who appear to be closer to contention, are probably more interested in paying market value for those marginal wins. The price to do so is probably a solid prospect or two.
   11. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: January 22, 2020 at 02:37 PM (#5918384)
Yes, this idea seems to hit at what's going on to me. Regardless of what Arenado wants- he did sign the contract, afterall- the Rockies dont' seem to value wins 3, 4, or 5 that he provides above an average 3B and for which he is compensated at market value. A team like the Braves or Nationals, who appear to be closer to contention, are probably more interested in paying market value for those marginal wins. The price to do so is probably a solid prospect or two.

The contract gives Arenado a full no trade clause and the ability to opt out after 2021. Arenado has a lot of control over what happens and it seems imprudent to exclude him from the process and anger him.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2020 at 04:20 PM (#5918424)
The contract gives Arenado a full no trade clause and the ability to opt out after 2021. Arenado has a lot of control over what happens and it seems imprudent to exclude him from the process and anger him.

Yes. There's little reason for him to agree to a trade unless he gets something out of it.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2020 at 04:40 PM (#5918431)
Crrent vs future wins: Sure, contending teams should be willing to trade more future wins for current wins than a non-contender (even the pre-2019 Rox) but:

(a) Long-term FA/extension contracts already have built in the trade of future money for current wins (i.e. all such contracts are deferred contracts) and, by foregoing that future money, the team is foregoing future wins. So most of the future-current tradeoff is already cooked into the contract the receiving team would be taking on. They would have to value current wins WAY more than the trading team to add substantial future wins in the deal.

(b) The market still provides most of the info we need to assess such a potential trade, especially in this offseason for this deal. We "know" the Braves didn't beat the 7/$245 deal for Rendon, they weren't willing to make that current/future tradeoff. If they took on Arenado, they'd be taking on 7/$234. The difference there is only $11 M spread over 7 years so, if the Braves think the current/future vvalue of the two players is about equal, we know they won't (intentionally) add much future talent value to the deal. (They also passed on Donaldson at 4/$92 which strikes me as almost unthinkable if they are willing to take on Arenado at 7/$234 plus substantial prospect talent.)

(c) So the only way the Braves would be willing to add substantial future wins here when they weren't willing to add even a trivial amount of money to acquire Rendon is if they think Arenado is much better such that there is substantial excess value in the Arenado contract -- i.e. they think Arenado is worth substanially more than Rendon and worth more than the Rox thought Arenado was worth -- i.e. Arenado is worth a lot more than 7/$234.

(d) That calculation is different for Bryant, Betts or Lindor or anybody requiring a relatively short time and small money commitment. These contracts have excess value built into them already -- not necessarily a lot but at least some. Then you add on whatever current/future exahange rate to that. Of course the ones that should really bring a good return are the Yelich type deals where the current money/wins tradeoff is already excellent, the receiving teams will have options on future years, etc.

Now that's essentially assuming a market with near-perfect knowledge and "rational" actors. But in this case, we do have lots of knowledge -- the terms of Arenado's contracts and every team's recent decisions on Arenado and Donaldson (and other current-future tradeoffs). Still, for all we know, the Braves offered 7/$280 to Rendon but he really likes Anaheim (ha!) or 4/$120 to Donaldson but he really hates Atlanta. Or the Braves, or whoever, might re-assess as we approach spring and their competitors have completed their rosters ... or they might "panic" at the last minute ... and increase their current/future marginal value estimate. But those are really ways of saying the Braves might currently value Arenado at 7/$280 and therefore would be willing to pay for that excess value in a trade.

But sure, in a world where a team can acquire Gleyber Torres for 2 months of a closer, anything is possible. Still, the main point is that there is already a substantial current-future tradeoff in the Arenado contract.
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 22, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5918437)
He's fairly paid. He has virtually no trade value.
That depends on whether a team is trying to improve its spreadsheet, or win the World Series. Sometimes you have to pay fair market value for players who can put you over the line, and even give up other assets to acquire those players.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2020 at 07:06 PM (#5918467)
That depends on whether a team is trying to improve its spreadsheet, or win the World Series. Sometimes you have to pay fair market value for players who can put you over the line, and even give up other assets to acquire those players.

As Walt has already said, if a team had wanted to do that they could have simply bid more for Rendon or Donaldson.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: January 22, 2020 at 07:21 PM (#5918470)
(note I didn't read the article linked in post 2)

The issue is that Arenado is only going to approve a trade to a contender, and any contending team out there is probably at the minimum getting a 1.5 or 2 war already from their third baseman... so his contract isn't a 5 war player, it's a 3 war player to the team trading for him, and considering his control over the trade process and future, that is a guy who is being paid 35 mil a year to be a 3 win player improvement.

Now the Cardinals have always made sense, they trade Carpenter and his 18 mil for (3 war average) to up the certainty to a 5 war player... but even there it doesn't make sense... the Cardinals could almost literally release Carpenter, pay his contract and still see a probable improvement at third base from last year with Edman... (forgetting the potential upside that Carpenter who was a 4.9 war player a year previously)


The point is that for the most part there are zero contending teams with payroll room, knowing that Arenado has a no trade clause, and an opt out, could realistically improve their position in any substantive way by getting Arenado. Obviously adding him to almost any team will improve the team, but then there are long range contributions, short range, who you have to give up etc.... and it makes it nearly impossible to get Arenado if the Rockies are really requiring a return on investment.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2020 at 07:50 PM (#5918476)
The issue is that Arenado is only going to approve a trade to a contender, and any contending team out there is probably at the minimum getting a 1.5 or 2 war already from their third baseman... so his contract isn't a 5 war player, it's a 3 war player to the team trading for him, and considering his control over the trade process and future, that is a guy who is being paid 35 mil a year to be a 3 win player improvement.

Nitpick: The contending team is probably paying their current 3B more than the minimum. (Actually not in the case of the Braves or Edman but as a general rule.) So in some cases, Arenado might cost only 20/25/30 M for a 3-win improvement. But the basic point stands.

An equivalence: The notion of acquiring Arenado then trading Carpenter elsewhere is equivalent to trading Carpenter to the Rox for Arenado then how much talent do the Cards throw in to make that even? If it's zero then that's pretty much saying Arenado is not quite worth the money he's owed (since the Cards are moving salary the other way too).

Reverse nitpick: On the other hand, most contending teams have some position where they are at/near replacement and, depending on how flexible the specific players are, there would be many theoretical cases where Arenado would be a 5-win improvement. The Cubs were near replacement-level overall in CF last year, mainly due to Almora being terrible while Heyward was kinda OK. In theory, they could get Arenado, move Bryant to RF and Heyward full-time to CF and that could be a 5 win improvement from where they are right now.
   18. Adam Starblind Posted: January 22, 2020 at 07:51 PM (#5918477)
That depends on whether a team is trying to improve its spreadsheet, or win the World Series. Sometimes you have to pay fair market value for players who can put you over the line, and even give up other assets to acquire those players.

As Walt has already said, if a team had wanted to do that they could have simply bid more for Rendon or Donaldson.


Unless they reached the limit of how much they were willing to offer Rendon, but would be willing to part with a prospect. I'm not saying there happens to be such a team. Just that the fact of his contract being fair value is not even close to the same thing as saying he has zero trade value. Superstars are not freely available.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2020 at 08:32 PM (#5918486)
It's also a good idea to clarify what sort of potential prospects we're talking about. Adding a tippy top prospect is adding a very large amount of future value, somebody probably expected to produce about 20 WAR over the first 6 years of control (some will do much more, some will totally flop). It's difficult to price such things in today's dollars but let's say that 20 wins over the next 4 years on the market would cost your $160 M now, these are wins several years down the road and there's more uncertainty ... WAG $100 M in today's dollars for the excess value necessary to get a tippy-top prospect in return.

Then you've probably got prospects from, I dunno, #8 to #30. Some of these guys will turn out to be huge of course but many will be worth very little to average.

Then there's #30-#70 or so. These are the Rich Beckers and 2015 Brandon Nimmos of the world ... and those are the good ones. Again, occasionally you hit it really big but in general you're a bit lucky if these guys reach even 8 WAR in their career. Giving up a guy like this for Arenado would be reasonable. That's trading, say, 5-8 WAR over (up to) 6 years that won't begin for another 3+ years after the deal is done. That's like giving away 2-5 wins over the next 4 years or something.

Things decline from there.

You can plug in whatever numbers you want and obviously what set of numbers you plug in will change the decision point. But Arenado is being paid to produce something like 25-30 WAR over the next 7 years. That WAR is likely to take a shape like 20/7.5 over the 4/3 years of the deal. Or 18/9 or something similar.

So at $8 per WAR in today's dollars, the Rox would pay him $220 in today's dollars (I assume that's the ballpark of the NPV on 7/$234 slightly front-loaded). They'd be getting $160 in value while paying $140 (slightly less in NPV) over the first 4 years but then only $60 in value while paying $94 (a good bit less in NPV terms).

Now the Braves should value those early wins more as they expect to compete for the next 3-4 years. Let's say at $10 per for the first 4 years and then the standard 8 for the last 3; then they should value those early wins at $200 while paying $140 and the latter still at $60/$94. Anyway, they should value that contract at $40 M more than the Rox. To even that out -- that's a Nimmo. That seems a reasonable conjecture.

Maybe you think it's more like $12 for the early wins for a contender -- now there's $80 M extra from their perspective and now they need to ship along a #8-20 type, maybe even higher (or two prospects or ...).

The problem is that if they value Arenado at 7/$260 (scenario 1) much less 7/$300 then I'd think they'd top the Rendon and Donaldson offers. Obviously it is possible that the issue there was that they think Arenado will produce a lot more value than those two.

Under this general logic, we should see all big FAs sign with current contenders because they will value every win more highly. That is mostly what we see though we have oddities like Machado to the Padres. (Even Cano to Ms and Harper to Phils I think can be classified as teams trying to contend now or next year.) If that's the case, then the "market" value for the big FA is the contender's price -- i.e. that higher value of the current win to the contender is already in the contract. The question is more why the Rox paid the contender's price when it didn't seem like they were ready to contend. Of course they did have some leverage with their final year of control so they should have gotten some small discount. But still, would Arenado have signed away these years at 7/$234 if the contender's price (conditional on a solid 2019) would have been 7/$260 or 7/$300?

The contender's price for Cole was 9/$324 although that doesn't rule out that there is still excess value in there for the Yanks. The contender's price for Strasburg was 7/$245. We can argue whether the Angels are a contender but no better-placed contender was willing to beat 7/$245 for Rendon. The Twins are clearly contenders for at least the NLC and so the contender price for Donaldson is 4/$92. Obviously there are market restrictions at play that may have led to some of these guys actually being paid less than what a "metaphysical contender" might pay for them but how far out can it be?

So chances are Arenado is already being paid this extra value for a contender short-term win, why should the Braves add (substantially) more future wins for the Rox?

   20. Adam Starblind Posted: January 22, 2020 at 09:02 PM (#5918494)

So chances are Arenado is already being paid this extra value for a contender short-term win, why should the Braves add (substantially) more future wins for the Rox?


To get Arenado, if they want to add those current wins.

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