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Yes, Nolan Arenado is overpaid, Cards fans

I think a majority of halfway knowledgeable fans know that the St. Louis Cardinals are past the break-even point on their contract with third baseman Arenado, but a willful contrarian or something on this r/Cardinals post wants to handwave about deferred money, overestimate the value of a WAR point and more while trying to defend the team and Arenado's current value both, and be wrong on both.

And, we're going to tackle that in further detail here.

Mojowo11 starts:

I get why people don't understand his contract because the financial terms of the trade were incredibly complicated, but Arenado is pretty cheap, all things considered. The Cardinals owe him something like 3y/$60m over the next three seasons. They also owe him a few million a year in deferred money each season after that until 2031 (there's some interest math here I don't want to do, but it's 2%), and then $3M each year from 2031-2041.
It's no fun that Arenado appears to be going from sure-thing-Hall-of-Famer to average regular faster than anyone anticipated. Certainly the hope was that he'd be affordable and at least very good on the back end of his deal, which makes the result a disappointment no matter how you slice it. But the Cardinals did a pretty good job of structuring things so that he can't really be an albatross contract at any point. Even if he's just a 2 WAR guy for the next three seasons, he'll justify his pay. The rest of the end-of-contract "bad money" will be spread out in a mix of low-interest and no-interest payments over the next decade and a half.

I respond:

Is WAR really worth $10M/WAR point now? I'd still put it closer to $7M which means an overpay. But, let's look at actual dinero owed by the Cards, after Rockies pay, but not doing the deferment money. It's $30M this year, $27 in 2025, $22 in 2026 and $15 in 2027.
Even if a WAR is worth $10M, he has to be a 3-WAR guy for the team to break even this year, and close to that next year.
I'm not holding my breath on that, so I'll respectfully disagree on him justifying his pay.
That's if he's still a 3 WAR guy, and so far this year, he's not only not on track for even 2 WAR, he's in the hole. Now in 2027, he's only getting $15M, so maybe it will be break-even there. Or maybe not.

He replies:

This is not the first time I've had this conversation with someone on this subreddit where they just wanted to ignore the time value of money when evaluating the rest of this contract. You don't just get to ignore really important parts.
The Cardinals will pay Arenado $24M this year, not $30M. They will pay him an additional $6M in about a decade, with no interest. The deferment is hugely important both in terms of the real impact that Arenado has on the payroll today and the total cost of his 2024 season to the club overall. $6M in a decade is worth much less than $6M today. Ignoring that is nonsense. I get that it's simpler to ignore it, but it's just wrong.

I fire back:

You yourself said the deferment interest was 2 percent per year, so it's not that big of a deal. If you want to drop that down over a whole decade? Fine, it's $4.5 million and thus, the Cards are paying Arenado $28.5M on **this year's contract at this year's value.** #fify.
What's wrong is your overestimation of his value, as well as the overestimation of the contract worth of a WAR point.

And, that's where we're at on Reddit, other than him getting friends, bots and doppelgänger accounts to downvote me.

Well, I have the last word here.

At $28.5M, it's laughable that that's break-even pay if Arenado is a 2-WAR player. I said earlier WAR isn't worth $10M per point; it's certainly not $14.25. So, I'm going to skewer you on the two horns of a dilemma.

Let's say WAR is worth $9.5 million. OK, if Arenado becomes a THREE-WAR player, then the Cards break even this year.

But, you know what? 

The team has played one-third of a season already. For Arenado to do that? He'd have to get to 3 WAR in two-thirds a season. That's the equivalent of a 4.5-WAR year, and that's as laughable as your idea that $14.25 million is one WAR point.

There's the two horns of your dilemma, bub, bots and doppelgängers.

But, we're not done.

Extrapolating? The team owes him $27M for next year, which will adjust to approximately $25M with deferral discount. (Again, per dude's own language, this is NOT Ohtani, and the deferred portion of Arenado's Contract is a relatively small portion of the total.) It's $22M in 2026, or $20M with deferral adjustment, we'll say. Then, the $15M add-on year in 2027 does not, AFAIK, have any deferral portion.

The way Arenado is declining, so that he's now a defensive negative at 3B, he could be more of an overpay yet next year. He's three years younger than Goldschmidt, and despite a much higher BA, doesn't have much higher SLG. He'll be hard to move, and he's not a long-term answer at 1B.

And, he's one of these dudes who calls Matt Carpenter "Marp." Blech.

This post first appeared on SocraticGadfly, please read the originial post: here

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Yes, Nolan Arenado is overpaid, Cards fans


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