Ed Note – A few weeks ago I was reading Redbird Rants, and I was, well, I’m not sure how to put it.
I was INSPIRED.
I was inspired because I had read about a transaction I had never thought of before, which listed reasons I probably wouldn’t have considered. I think it’s fair to say that the article, like many there, expanded my brain in ways I never thought possible before.
That’s an excellent way to put it.
Anyway, I suddenly came up with my own transaction that I’d never thought of before. I wrote them immediately:
What a reply! Imagine, little old me, actually being a part of FanSided!
But what’s better than pitching a story? How about just writing one?
So, I did, and I sent it to them via DM, but alas, it was not to be. I was told I’d have to go through an application process, that sending stories is “not how it works.” Which, I respect, but it seems like that’s a little different from the initial reaction, no?
Oh well, perhaps they upped their standards a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t blame them. Be just good enough to keep ol’ CardsCards out. That’s what I always say.
Anyway, here is the article as was originally intended, where I was a real live RedbirdRants contributor. I did my best to act like part of the team. To emulate the writing style that I see on that site. I fell short, I’m sure. But I reached for the stars dammit. I did my best.
Without any further ado:
Adams for Arenado: Do it Cardinals
The Cardinals will enter January an improved team, but hardly a team that can’t get better. Yes, let’s face it, they are basically as good as the Cubs right now. We know the pitching will return to the standard set in 2015 thanks to the Cardinals signing of annual Gold Glove snub Dexter Fowler, and we know the offense will improve by dumping players like Brandon “Swing and a” Moss, and filling in needed holes by snagging Eric Fryer, he of the career .455 batting average at Busch Stadium.
Regardless of this near fool-proof team, the mark of a good General Manager is one who is always looking to improve, even if it is along the margins. The Cardinals have that chance right now.
They have a beast like Matt Adams locked away.
Adams, I don’t need to tell you about. His listed weight is 260, but I can only assume that’s because that’s where the scale stopped. He’s a hulking mass of muscle which means that every single time he makes contact, there is a good chance someone in the upper deck has their life in danger.
What have the Cardinal’s done with this left-handed power machine? Why they’ve benched him behind Matt Carpenter, another lefty. It doesn’t take long to read between the lines: Matt Adams will be critically underutilized this season.
Move over Jose Oquendo, there’s a new secret weapon.
The Cardinals have some hefty talent to spare, and it’s time they turned this into someone who can truly help the team, even if he isn’t quite at the same talent level. That player is Nolan Arenado.
Nolan, for those who are unaware, plays 3B for the Colorado Rockies. He is entering his age 26 season, and is a 2 time All-Star, though you might count that as a byproduct of the “every team must have a representative” rule that ultimately helps players like Nolan, and hurts deserving players like Adams who happen to play on teams full of fan favorites already.
Nolan has very impressive offensive statistics until one realizes that he plays in Coors Field, but he is really best known for his glove. Hmm, infield defense, anyone knows a team that might be interested in that? The Cardinals, that’s who. And while they already have their own multi-awarded all-star in Jhonny Peralta who can handle the 3B job quite dutifully, one must remember that this is Peralta’s final year under contract, and the Cardinals must begin looking to that future.
That’s where Arenado comes in. Picture a time-share over at 3B, ala Ozzie Smith and Royce Clayton, that allows Jhonny to get the proper rest that he needs while giving Arenado much needed development time while learning from a guy with 3 AS appearances and over 200 career home runs. That’s called a win-win situation right there. It’s possible that playing alongside Peralta this year could help make Arenado a star for years to come.
One thing is for certain, wherever Arenado is playing next year, it’s likely not to be Colorado. He’s already arbitration eligible and made an ungodly $5 million dollars last year. 2017 is bound to be higher. Such is the price you pay with inflated offensive numbers and All-Star appearances for everybody.
The Rockies know this, and they know they have to act fast. They do not want to get into another Troy Tulowitski situation, another high priced infielder signing a huge contract that went south quickly. The Rockies lost out on that investment very quickly and were forced to do a virtual salary dump, where the headliner they received in return, Jose Reyes, wound up finding it easier to hit his wife than baseballs.
That’s called a bad trade. The Rockies need a better return for Arenado and should trade him before he signs his big deal – unless they are comfortable with dumping him on the Yankees in a few years and letting Aroldis Chapman take over 3B. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember many lefty throwers at 3B.
So what kind of player would the Rockies need? How about a player whose arbitration costs have been low due to a lack of playing time? That’s Matt Adams, who made less than $2 million dollars last year (and was worth more than double that), and can be locked up to a long year deal at a much more team friendly rate. If Busch Stadium was a mile above sea level, this wouldn’t be the case, as Adams owns a .419/.455/.871/1.326 slash line at Coors Field (Arenado’s falls well short), but as it stands Adams’ value has been suffering by playing at Busch Stadium, and so for a team like the Rockies, he becomes an extreme value.
OK, but why would the Rockies want Matt Adams, they just signed a 1B didn’t they? Hahaha, sure they did. They signed Ian Desmond, he of the career 0 games at 1B, to play 1B. Yeah, I’m positive that’s the truth.
Desmond is a SS by trade, with some CF experience to boot. Currently, the Rockies have Trevor Story at SS. Trevor Story has 3B experience in the minors. Trevor Story can’t play 3B so long as Arenado is there. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. The Rockies intend to move Arenado, but can’t lower his trade value by admitting that this is why they picked up Ian Desmond.
Make no mistake, the Rockies are still desperate for a 1B. Last year they had strikeout God Mark Reynolds over there, a player who prior to his Coors time hadn’t slugged over .400 since 2012. Imagine cheering for a team that went to Mark Reynolds for a source of power. It would be maddening.
Matt Adams solves all of these problems and more. The goal of any team is to win and make the playoffs. The Rockies can’t do this without passing the Dodgers and Giants. The Dodgers and Giants are two very good teams, largely due to their aces Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner.
Ahem, this is Matt Adams.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
No one can forget his clutch home runs off of both of those pitchers in the 2014 playoffs. Adams crushes right-handed pitching and absolutely ruins the top lefties in the game. The Rockies should be drooling over him.
(While we’re at it, Tony Cruz, who also homered off of Bumgarner that game, is still available)
Skeptics will tell you that Arenado is better with the bat. Sure, the surface numbers look better, but playing every day with half of your games at Coors Field will do that to you. Instead, note one of the most oft quote offensive stats in baseball. OPS+. In 2016, Arenado had an OPS+ of 129. That’s the same OPS+ Matt Adams had way back in 2013. In other words, Arenado has just now developed into the level of hitter Adams was 4 years ago.
Yes, I’ll concede that Arenado’s defense is probably better. But it’s just a probably. The defensive metrics are on Nolan’s side, but as we have often heard, those can’t be trusted. Arenado may be better, but Adams is a former catcher, which means he is adept at stopping any balls that fall near him. Furthermore, anyone who watches Cardinals games on a regular basis will tell you that the guys in the know, guys like Al Hrabosky, frequently talk about how skilled he is with the glove.
Considering the Rockies are currently going with a guy who has literally never played the position before, we will call the defensive changes a wash.
I know there are a lot of great ideas floating around the Cardinals 1B/3B situation. Here at Redbird Rants I counted no less than 8 articles covering that usual topic. I admit, those guys are the experts here, but I do think if those plans fall through the cracks somehow, that Adams for Arenado, while risky, must be explored by the Cardinals brass. Consider what it would mean for both teams if this deal goes through:
The Rockies get – Their 1B of the future, on the cheap, and get to maximize the talents of both Story and Desmond.
The Cardinals get – Inf depth, improved defense (over Peralta), maybe the 3B of the future (considering he’ll likely take less to get to stay in baseball heaven).
The Rockies would do this in a heartbeat, which might make you think the Cardinals should ask for a little more to make it even. But I think the Cardinals have to make a move, and can’t risk another team stupidly offering something crazy for Arenado leaving us with Matt Adams riding the bench. Do the deal easy and straight up, and do it now, Mo. We’re all waiting on you.
I look forward to hearing what you think of this. Please tell me in the comments, or on Twitter @stlcardscards. Thanks for reading!