The St. Louis Cardinals got the bargain of the 2022-23 offseason when Nolan Arenado opted into the remainder of his contract, happy and satisfied with five years and $144 million to continue manning the hot corner at Busch Stadium. With Manny Machado’s opt-out looming next offseason, there’s been plenty of discussion about how he could easily tack on two or three years and $100 million on the five years/$150 million he has due to him. Arenado had no such desire to learn about the newfound possibilities of the market.
Too bad. He could’ve been a perfect Yankees third baseman — both now, at a relative discount compared to the rest of the league’s commitments, and in the 2018-19 offseason, when he was first available for trade.
Arenado wasn’t ultimately traded until after the 2020 season, when the Rockies shirked their NL West rivals the Dodgers in favor of the St. Louis Cardinals, accepting a silver dish of nothing in return, like the one Nathan Fielder once revealed on a yacht.
Back in 2019, though, the Yankees supposedly loved the player — and why wouldn’t they? Arenado was coming off his fourth straight All-Star appearance and 37-homer-plus season at Coors Field, posting a 133 OPS+ with historic defense.
The Bombers apparently did not want to trade Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andújar, though, according to a Jon Heyman revelation and Aaron Boone Twitter like from the archives.
Yankees didn’t want to part with Miguel Andújar in Nolan Arenado trade
At the time, Yankee fans were protective of Andújar. It can be tough to remember the era before the slugging third baseman/defensive liability slid back into third base on a cold day in early 2019 and popped his shoulder, basically never to be heard from again.
Following the 2018 season, though, the Yankees had an offensive cornerstone on their hands who’d blasted 27 homers and 47 doubles in a season for the ages. When paired with Gleyber Torres, you could see something developing. Everyone else could mock his defense, but only we knew his value. We had a 30-homer DH on our hands … until we didn’t. Much like every other prospect between Cano and present, we didn’t have what we thought we did.
Obviously, the current version of Miguel Andújar, proud to be a Pirate, should’ve been offloaded for Nolan Arenado. The 2018 version should’ve been, too, though there was an element of pride to standing pat at the time, one clearly shared by the Yankees’ manager.
Now, holding onto Justus Sheffield in the Manny Machado trade talks at the 2018 deadline, only to offload him for James Paxton a half-year later? That was a fireable offense, captained by a man who just got extended again.