So the Mets lost out on George Springer, apparently refusing to match the Blue Jays offer of six years, $150 million. It was probably a smart move, but now they need to go out and spend Steve Cohen’s money wisely and go get Nolan Arenado.
Springer is a very good player and was exactly what the Mets needed — a center fielder who can hit and field. However, that is an awful lot of money to spend on someone who is already 31 years old. Will he be a $25 million dollar a year player four, five, six years from now? Probably not.
Arenado is also what the Mets need — a third baseman who can hit and field. But he is a much, much better hitter than Springer and is apparently arguably the best fielding third baseman ever. He is clearly on a Hall of Fame path. Arenado turns 30 in April and is signed for six more years at $199 million. Whom would you rather have for the same amount of time for $49 million more?
The rap against Arenado is that he is a creation of Coors Field. People point to his home/away splits as proof. I don’t think it proves anything. Yes, almost everyone hits better in the thin air of Denver. But I was reading his away stats may be hurt by the fact that the ball does different things at sea level than at elevation — especially a curve ball — and Rockies players are used to seeing curves at elevation. It is difficult to adjust to the sea level pitch. I think if Arenado played regularly elsewhere, he would make the adjustment and would be the same ballplayer.
Of course, Arenado is not a free agent, so the Mets would have to trade for him. I don’t know what the Rockies would want, but a package of J.D. Davis (to replace Arenado at third) and two high level prospects would be a good place to start. Colorado might want more major league-ready players, so perhaps a Dom Smith or Brandon Nimmo might have to be part of the deal. The Mets would probably want some salary relief — maybe Jeurys Familia and his $11 million go to Colorado. It would be nice to dump Robinson Cano and his $45 million on the Rockies, but that’s a pipe dream.
That may see like a lot, but Arenado is one of the best players in the game and he’s worth it. And his remaining salary is reasonable. Now, you may be saying, “How many $30+ million players can the Mets have? They already have deGrom at that level and will hopefully sign Francisco Lindor to a massive deal. They can’t have three!” I say, why not? The Mets finally have an owner who can operate this team like the big market club it always was. They can afford anyone they want. And if they go over the luxury tax, so be it (easy for me to say, I know!). I agree with Steve Cohen that he shouldn’t spend money like “a drunken sailor,” but he needs to use his assets to build a winner and not be hampered by a tax, which is a drop in the bucket for him (the Red Sox tax in 2018 when the won the World Series was $12 million. Big deal!).
Trading for Arendo would be the final piece that ends with a parade up the Canyon of Heroes in early November. Just do it!