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Why Nolan Arenado won’t be traded and Todd Helton will get in the Hall of Fame (eventually)

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Rockies news and links for Friday, January 24, 2020

Kick Rox: Arenado's Still Elite, and Colorado Just Committed Malpractice | Baseball Prospectus ($)

Matthew Trueblood has an excellent analysis of Nolan Arenado as a player as well as the context of this situation. First, he re-frames the opt out as a five-year player option, which points to the leverage Arenado has. Then he digs into Nolan's hard-hit rate and aggressive approach to signal that maybe his skillset is already starting to decline. However, BP's Deserved Runs Created (DRC) show that there are other aspects of his skillset, such as contact and strikeout avoidance, that make him "ballpark-proof."

All this is in service to a thesis about trading the third baseman. Trueblood is an exceptional writer, but he overstates his case to the point of hyperbole here. The Rockies are under no obligation to "move on from this player, while accepting a suboptimal return." In fact, they are probably in a position where it would be foolish TO trade him. Nolan may be unhappy (and, as an article that will come out later this morning demonstrates, have good reason to be), but he's enough of a professional, enough of a gamer, enough of a good teammate to go out and play the game even if he doesn't like his boss.

All that being the case, it's perhaps better to ask questions like, "What, if anything, can the Rockies do in the next 2 years to convince him not to take the opt out?"

Rockies Star Nolan Arenado Is Unhappy But Isn’t Going To Be Traded Anytime Soon | Forbes

Jake Etkin gives a brief chronology of the situation between Jeff Bridich and Nolan Arenado. He also notes the reasons why a trade is likely not imminent, but doesn't rule out the possibility of a deadline deal should the Rockies be out of it.

Pros and cons of trading Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado | ESPN+ ($)

Craig Edwards’ case for trading Nolan rests on a simple premise: “So if the Rockies don’t have a plan to contend in the next two seasons, resetting without their biggest salary on the books might be a good idea.” His case against trading Nolan revolves around the way his contract is structured, which means his trade value is as low as possible to other teams. But both sides fail to take full inventory of the situation.

It’s hard to argue with the idea that a team that lost 91-games in 2019 and has made no roster additions is not planning to contend in 2020. Fact is, the Rockies do plan to contend in 2020—whether that’s a good plan or not is another question entirely. Not only that, but (as I note in my article later this morning that I worked really hard on and would you please just give it a click please) there is a clear pathway to contention for the Rockies in 2021. Trading away Arenado punts both of those opportunities, such as they are.

The Other Disgruntled Rockies Trade Candidate | Call to the Pen

File this one under "Let's stir up the pot and try to make Rockies fans even more depressed." Ryan Sanders posits the idea that "Hey, maybe Jon Gray is upset with the Rockies and he should want to force his way out. So who should get him?" The argument is based largely on Gray's trip down to AAABQ in the middle of his 2018 season. Is it possible Gray still holds a grudge over that, or being left of the 2018 postseason roster? Sure. But this is an argument from silence that still concludes with "If the Colorado Rockies are noncompetitive or opt for a rebuild, expect Jon Gray to be on the move as well." Maybe this is me being emotional but I can only really say one thing to that.

Hall of Fame

Larry Walker on Hall induction, Coors Field, connection with Derek Jeter, and SpongeBob | Roxpile

Noah Yingling has a nice little roundup from the Hall of Fame press conference and Larry Walker's comments. The headline gives away everything you'll find but this is one example where that definitely works. Not mentioned in the piece: Walker has requested he wear a Rockies cap on his plaque, which would officially make him the first Rockie in Cooperstown.

How Larry Walker’s Hall of Fame induction could clear the way for Rockies teammate Todd Helton | CBS Sports

Matt Synder sees another big benefit to Walker’s election to the Hall of Fame: he opens the doors for more Rockies. Synder takes the contention that Rockies players are disqualified because of enormous home-road splits and turns it around: where would players like Helton stand if we just judged them on their road split? Because Walker is now in, guys like Helton will get the long hard look they deserve and, because most of Helton’s career came after the humidor, more people will (or should) be willing to consider his case. He’s got eight years to flip 182 voters to his side, which is very doable.

Todd Helton deserves to be in the Hall of Fame | Beyond the Box Score

Matt Provenzano takes this argument one step further by considering the standards set by the current members of the Hall of Fame to demonstrate Helton's case. Looking at the various measurements used in Jay Jaffe's famous JAWS score, he notes: "By WAR, Helton ranks above Harmon Killebrew. By WAR7, he sits above Frank Thomas. By JAWS, he’s above Eddie Murray. By WAA, he’s a hair below Hank Greenberg."

I don't know about you, but that looks like a Hall of Famer to me.