The prevailing thoughts have been that MLB is not in a good spot when the best players are being traded away. The more pressing part is that the return for the player has been seemingly has less value than what the trading team “should” have received. Many believe these trades are happening as a result of “salary dump” because the teams can’t afford the player. I suppose in some cases that might be true, like the Indians with Lindor, but I don’t like this thought process at all. I think it is good for baseball to have the best players on competitive teams.
The Rockies are one of the worst teams in MLB for 2021. They were going to lose nearly 100 games with Arenado or without him. MLB teams are businesses with revenue goals, budgets, and future growth aspirations like any other business. Business owners make tough decisions that are best for their businesses. MLB is no different. Last season is exposing some of the teams with financial impacts. Playing less games with no one in attendance really changes the revenue model. Maybe it was an unforeseen situation with the pandemic, but every team was in the same boat. Executives are expected to navigate through the troubling waters as such when they come out the other side into calm waters, they can operate on full go again. Every decision made leading into last season won’t return the expected outcome. The Arenado deal made by COL is one of those deals. He almost walked last year and everyone was up in arms over that. COL signed him to a very large contract that now made the dealings of this season very hard to overcome. It was a bad choice last year, so this trade frees them of their errors and now they can rebuild under less financial burdens.
As far as from a fans stand point, I want to see the best players playing in the most impactful games. Arenado on the COL would not have provided that. Now as a STL Cardinal, he will be in impactful games. STL is the expected division winner in the NL Central, so he will play games that are important. A few years back, Alex Rodriguez went to the NY Yankees. Everyone said bad for baseball because only the “rich” can afford players like him. Same theme as with Arenado just recycled. A-Rod was no longer hidden away in Texas on teams that didn’t play meaningful games. He was now in the spotlight everyday. The players need to produce, and if they do, they build upon the legacy they leave from the last team. None of that is guaranteed.
The continued recycling of how this stuff is bad for the sport is “hogwash”. Business decisions of the past have led to these moments and almost forced the actions to happen. The Rays moving Snell or the Indians moving Lindor are smart. They both made moves prior to being forced to, thus are continually building while fielding their best possible teams. COL is not in that spot, so they are forced to build from a position of weakness, yet that is due to their errored methodology as business decisions from last year have gone awry. These poor business decisions need to have accountability go with them as such that teams will not put themselves in these spots in the future. The Rays are great examples of how their executives are consistently making moves that keep the product relevant. If you are not relevant, it is not always the star player, but more commonly the executives who are running the teams. I want to see these star players in the largest spotlight available. It is good for the game to have it’s most meaningful games represented with the most talented players.