There are ways to make everyone happy in a Nolan Arenado trade

There are ways to make everyone happy in a Nolan Arenado trade

One of the main talking points of the Nolan Arenado sweepstakes is his opt-out clause.

But there seems to be a misconception about what the opt-out could mean in a trade.

Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million deal with the Rockies last February. Seven years and $234 million remain.

Here is the structure:

2020: $35M
2021: $35M 
2022: $35M
2023: $35M
2024: $35M
2025: $32M
2026: $27M

Arenado can opt out of the contract after 2021. If he does, it means another team would be acquiring him for just two seasons — a much, much different proposition than seven.

Many of the Arenado opinions this offseason have been that, because of the opt-out risk, it's not worth trading away the young players the Rockies would require.

But put yourself in the Rockies' shoes. Wouldn't the best course of action be to evaluate the best offer(s) and then involve Arenado and his representatives in the conversation to see if he's willing to renegotiate the opt-out? It serves the Rockies' best interest to give the other team what it wants.

And it could serve Arenado's interests, too. Let's say the Cardinals really, really want Arenado but are willing to trade away the prospect package the Rockies covet only if Arenado is willing to delay the opt-out until after 2023. That would give St. Louis four full years of Arenado, double the current guarantee.

They'd have to make it worth Arenado's while. They'd have to add something like $5 million per year to those four years. Arenado would get $20 million more in exchange for pushing back the opt-out two years.

Does that math make sense for him? 

Arenado is four months away from his 29th birthday. The 2022 season, the first after his opt-out, would be his age-32 season.

From 2022-26, the final five years after the opt-out, Arenado is currently scheduled to make $164 million. Now let's add in the extra $20 million mentioned above, the return gift for Arenado theoretically delaying his opt-out. Now we're at a total of $184 million.

For it to be worthwhile to opt out, Arenado would need to think he'd get more than five years and $184 million. And he'd be ahead of his age-32 season. As great as he is, that is ambitious. That's a five-year guarantee of nearly $40 million to a player in his ages 32-36 seasons.

And for the Rockies? This would be ideal. Because two years of Arenado isn't enough for an acquiring team, whereas seven years and $234 million might be too much. Four years could be just right. A team would have to trade a helluva lot more for four years of Arenado than for two.

What about the Phillies?

The Cardinals and Rangers have been directly linked to Arenado more than any other teams. There's been nothing about the Phillies, who act in secrecy with these things. 

Could the Phillies even put together a competitive package for Arenado? It would have to involve Spencer Howard because the Rockies need pitching, and Alec Bohm would make sense too as a replacement third baseman. Colorado might also need a plug-and-play young guy like Scott Kingery. Sounds like a ton to give up. Remember, it's Nolan Arenado.

Arenado's salaries would push the Phillies' payroll much higher than the Phils want it to be. Adding Arenado's AAV would push their payroll in 2020 to around $237 million. That would prompt a luxury tax payment of approximately $5.8 million, in addition to the other penalties for exceeding the $208 million threshold.

If the Phillies were to include Kingery and Vince Velasquez in the deal, that would get them back down to about $229 million.

Would it be worth it for the Phils? Depends on what you value more: the possibility of winning it all at some point over the next five years, or the possibility of sustaining success longer than that by holding onto your top young pieces. 

The Phillies do need some of these top prospects to graduate to the majors and make the impact they're supposed to make. They need an infusion of inexpensive, productive youth because of how many giant salaries are already on the payroll.

It's a fun philosophical question of team-building that makes this typically quiet mid-January period more exciting.

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A simpler approach could get Rhys Hoskins to the future slugger we envisioned

A simpler approach could get Rhys Hoskins to the future slugger we envisioned

The Phillies finally got their slugger of the future.

That’s what Phillies fans and many people around the game were thinking after Rhys Hoskins became the fastest player in MLB history to slug 18 career home runs, accomplishing the feat in 34 games. Hoskins set the mark in a win against the Miami Marlins on September 14th, 2017 and you can relive it today on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

That home run off of former Phillie Vance Worley would also be the last of Hoskins’ rookie campaign. In the two seasons that have followed since, Hoskins has hit a more-than-respectable 63 total home runs. But his slugging percentage dropped in each season since 2017, going from .618 SLG as a rookie to .454 SLG in 2019.

So, where does Hoskins go from here? It would be overly critical to question whether Hoskins will be a one-year wonder. He has posted solid, if not spectacular, power numbers since that first season. But he also hasn’t been anywhere near the conversation for best power hitters in the National League either.

Here’s a reason for optimism: As much as he said the right things, my sense is that Hoskins was negatively impacted by the launch angle, pitch-taking mindset set forth as dogma by the Gabe Kapler regime. Hoskins already possesses those tendencies naturally. Adding more thought to the equation led to plate paralysis. As walks increased, production diminished from a player that this franchise is counting upon to create runs. With Joe Girardi and hitting coach Joe Dillon at the helm, there’s reason to think we’ll see Hoskins get back to “see ball, hit ball” mode.

It also can’t hurt to have a full season under his belt with Bryce Harper. While the two have a good relationship, it couldn’t have been easy to go from leading man to best supporting actor status. That dynamic should come more comfortably for Hoskins in the seasons ahead.

Who knows what the 2020 season will look like? Or if we’ll even have a season? But my bet is that Hoskins figures it out and puts together a 40 home run season in the not-too-distant future.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Shane Victorino joins to talk some ball


Phillies Talk podcast: Shane Victorino joins to talk some ball

A special guest joined the Phillies Talk podcast Friday: former Phillies All-Star and World Series champion Shane Victorino.

• Victorino on the sports shutdown

• His love of Philly, the fans and how they embraced him

• Why Philly made such a difference in his life

• The confidence that Charlie Manuel and Gene Lamont gave him

• Shane on his famous walk-off outfield assist

• Victorino's 40-yard dash vs. Troy Polamalu

• Victorino on Bryce Harper

• His message to Phillies fans

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