The Nolan Arenado gamble

DENVER, CO – APRIL 06: Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies receives the Rawlings Gold Glove and Platinum Glove Award before the Rockies home opener against the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field on April 6, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

In case you missed it somehow, David Wright, the cornerstone at the hot corner for the New York Mets, is most likely playing his last game for the team on September 29th. In terms of a day to day presence, the effects of missing Wright might not be too drastic. Wright, after all, has not played in a Major League game since 2016. For a short term solution at third, the Mets have Todd Frasier, who they picked up this past offseason on a two-year deal. At this point in his career however, Frasier is not a player that will make an impactful change on a franchise. Also hitting unrestricted free agency at the same time as Frasier is another third baseman, Nolan Arenado.

Arenado, who will be 29 at the time of his free agency, is set to receive a massive pay day. He is truly a dynamic baseball player. Known around the leagues for the way that he fields his position, Arenado is already considered by some to be one of the best fielders ever to play third base. Not only is his glove on another level, but Arenado also knows how to swing the bat. At the time that this was written, Arenado was slugging a .301 average to go along with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs.

At this point in his career, Arenado is nearly a reflection of what Wright was doing when he was in his prime with the Mets. Of course, the concern with any player that is either leaving or coming to Coors Field in Colorado is the adjustment from park to park. With Arenado, all of his statistics are stronger when he is home, which should be expected when a player’s home park is Coors Field. The difference in batting average is a little concerning though, as he is hitting .380 at Coors field compared to .265 in away parks. Just for giggles, he hit .273 with one home run in his 11 at bats at Citi Field.

Would Arenado be worth the major investment risk? The Mets have swung and missed on many recent occasions on large free agent contracts, so naturally the idea of a mega contract would put knots in the stomach of any Mets fan. It would also most likely come at the cost of not retaining one of their trio of dynamo pitchers. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler are all going to command a pretty penny when they hit the market. It would be hard for any team to retain the contracts of deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Arenado all at once, so it is very hard to picture this franchise having the ability, or want, to have all four of those contracts on the roster.

While the Rockies might be in place to go to the playoffs this season, there is a growing sense in Denver that Arenado is growing frustrated. The franchise has a history of not wanting to pay big players like Troy Tulowitzki. If he were to go to market, the Mets might not have to compete with bigger teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, or even the Cubs to sign Arenado. The Yankees have Miguel Andujar, the Red Sox, much like the Yankees, are banking on the future at third with Rafael Devers, the Dodgers could potentially be holding onto Manny Machado, and the Cubs have Anthony Rizzo. It would be a gamble for the Mets to try and sign a player of Arenado’s magnitude to the team, but it might be one that the Mets should consider if they want solid play at the hot corner for the near future.

9 comments for “The Nolan Arenado gamble

  1. Pete from NJ
    September 15, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I had the pleasure last year to watch the Mets play at Denver. The fans just loved the guy with his performance that night showing what he could do. On the dirt, at the plate, he was just god the fans I thought back to David Wright playing equally good, thinking we had super star 3rd baseman too. It seems like ancient history.

    But Dalton’s statistic make me pause. Arenado’s home/away numbers make this a no go.

  2. TexasGusCC
    September 15, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Dalton, it’s Kris Bryant the Cubbies have at the hot corner not Rizzo. Although it seems Maddon would put him there…

    Yes, I’d sign Arrenado. Other Rockies hitters moved on and were effective also, but none of them had his glove. I do believe the Coors factor will suppress his value, but looking at the Mets’ depth with Gimenez, Mauricio, Rosario, and McNeil, it makes me reserve judgement until next year while I give our kids another year to show us. While they may not be Arrenado, if he costs major dollars and we lose one of our top arms, our downgrade as a team overall would be greater on the mound than at third base if we were to just shift Rosario there. And if you want to compare Rosario’s WAR to Arrenado’s as a rookie, since we can’t really compare stats as the two stadiums are opposites, Arrenado was a 1.8 fWAR despite a gaudy fielding number (his offensive number was that negative) and Rosario has two weeks left and is at 1.7 fWAR and his numbers are a slightly positive offense and a slightly negative defense, so switching position may be in his future.

  3. Metsense
    September 15, 2018 at 10:49 am

    A very good article Dalton but it may be premature. If Giminez keeps coming as fast as he has been then he will go to shortstop, Rosario to second base and McNeil slide over to Third Base for the 2020 season. The 2019 season should tell if these players progressed this much. If they do, and the Mets win in 2019 then there might not be a reason to make a Gamble on Arenado. Arenado is under contract until 2018 and then reverts to arbitration in the 2019 season. That may make the Rockies tie him up for a few years or trade him this winter.
    Dalton, why didn’t you listen to your Elder and write The Oswald Vargas article.
    BTW your writing has improved and you have grown from a Jimmy Olsen Cub reporter to Clarke Kent. Too bad the internet has taken all the phone booths! ( and do you know what I I am talkng about).

    • TexasGusCC
      September 15, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Dalton has improved in both style and substance. He is doing a great job in fact checking, proof reading, and being more even keeled emotionally in his writing.

      Dalton, you may take this as an insult to your previous work, but don’t. We have all been there! Your efforts in improving yourself are showing. Nice job.

      • Dalton Allison
        September 16, 2018 at 11:57 pm

        Thank you, it means a lot, I just have to take more time with name checking.

  4. MattyMets
    September 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

    I think Arenado is a fantastic franchise player, but I’ve really grown weary of free agency. The big names get long contracts that make them dead weight at the end (Pujols, Cabrera, et al) and the mid tier guys are a gamble as the Mets have proven time and again. I hope that the new front office explores trades and not just free agency.

    • Madman
      September 15, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Hey,it’s good to know someone else recognizes that FA contracts often don’t work. Probably the pressure the contract brings, age and the loss in ability and being more prone to injuries and maybe an unconscious loss of motivation. Whatever the reason, a study I’m sure would show that FAgency is not the way to go.

  5. TJ
    September 15, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Nolan is a tremendous player but I’d likely pass on his post-prime years.

  6. Craig
    September 16, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Arenado is an average player away from his home field. He averages 25 homers, .264 BA, a .319 OBP and < 800 OPS. Why would you sign this guy? He is Jay Bruce but can field.

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