Nolan Arenado Perfect Fit For Mets
When analyzing the New York Mets roster, there are a few things they need to transform a strong core to a true World Series contender. Some of those things are a third baseman, improved defense, and more right/left balance in the lineup.
That perfectly describes Nolan Arenado.
In his latest presser, without mentioning him by name, Sandy Alderson intimated Arenado would be the type of player the Mets could look to trade for this offseason. It should come as no surprise the Mets would.
Since the Mets last made the postseason in 2016, their defense has been an embarrassment. In fact, their -242 DRS over that timeframe is by far the worst in the majors.
One of the problem areas has been third where the team has accumulated a -26 DRS. That includes the -17 DRS the incumbent third baseman, J.D. Davis, has posted over the past two seasons.
Conversely, Arenado is an eight time Gold Glove winner. In fact, he’s a perfect 8/8 in his Major League career. Since 2017, he’s easily been the best third baseman in the NL with a 55 DRS. Replacing Davis with him would just be a staggeringly defensive upgrade.
Arenado isn’t remotely slipping defensively. In 2020, he had a 15 DRS and a 7 OAA. The previous season, he had an 18 DRS and a 16 OAA. By OAA, he’s been the best defensive third baseman in each of the past two seasons.
In addition to the phenomenal defense, Arenado is a good hitter.
No, he was not remotely good in a bizarre 2020 season. All of his offensive numbers cratered. However, this past season is a complete anomaly from what we’ve seen from him in his career.
Over the three previous seasons, Arenado had a 130 wRC+. That’s 29th best in the majors over that stretch. In terms of the Mets, only Brandon Nimmo has a better wRC+ over that stretch.
This means that quite arguably if the Mets were to obtain Arenado, he’d become their best player not named Jacob deGrom. Certainly, none of the current Mets can match Arenado’s ability to field and hit.
For those who are concerned his offense won’t translate, they’re worrying too much. Yes, like every other Rockies player, he’s always had pronounced home/road splits. However, as noted by Mike Petrillo of MLB.com, “there’s no evidence that a Rockies hitter who goes elsewhere and gets regular playing time is going to fall apart.”
So, essentially, if Arenado were to leave Colorado, we should anticipate him performing the same way he always has. There’s the obvious and fair caveat here that he really struggled in 2020. Although on that point, he has a shoulder injury to his non-throwing shoulder which could’ve impacted his performance.
When you boil it all down, Arenado is a great fit for the Mets. He vastly improves the defense, and he promises to be another right-handed threat in the lineup. In terms of fit, the Mets could not do any better.
Really, the question is what will it take to get him. He’s got a no trade clause and an opt out looming. Like last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested. While the Rockies may be reticent to trade Arenado intradivision, the Dodgers present real leverage to extract the most value.
We can debate just how much the Mets should give up to obtain arguably the best third baseman in baseball. What isn’t up for debate is just how much of an improvement Arenado would be over what the Mets have had at third since David Wright.