So would the dropoff be all that bad? In my opinion, no. It may not even be all that noticeable should it happen. And in all actuality, it may be worth it if trading Arenado is the only option that Bridich is left with.
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On the defensive end, we’d simply be brought back to the norm that most of the other MLB franchises are stuck at. Offensively, we may even see improved production. Not for as long as we’d experience it from Arenado, but it’d improve things in the short term. And if the Rockies bring in Donaldson and they’re not competitive next season? Then hey, maybe Donaldson can be a trade candidate that would still garner a fairly worthy return.
As for how feasible this scenario actually is depends on how the rest of the 3rd base market shakes out. While the Braves currently make the most sense for an Arenado trade, it may not make much sense for them to sell the farm to the Rockies and take on Arenado’s salary when they already passed on Anthony Rendon (whose AAV is extremely similar to Nolan’s). Their best move may simply be to bring back Donaldson at the 4 year, $100M offer that’s been rumored to have been put in front of Donaldson.
And if the Rockies do trade Arenado to the Braves, would they want to have Donaldson be part of a sign-and-trade to ensure they’re getting Donaldson? Or would they want to change the direction they’re going in and aim for a full blown rebuild? Bringing in Donaldson would signify that you still think you’re competitive (and by all signs the Rockies still believe they’ll be competitive in 2020).
A ton of factors are still in play to even make this a reasonable scenario, but it’s one that the Rockies should entertain if trading Arenado is the only option they have left.