Is a trade brewing involving Nolan Arenado? Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post wrote in a recent article that he believes the Colorado Rockies are “investigating possible deals.”
In his most recent Colorado Rockies mailbag, Saunders answered a question from a California reader who discussed the status of All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, whose name has swirled in trade rumors for months now.
Responding to the statement from the reader that began, “Hi Patrick, at this point and time, the Rockies just need to trade Nolan Arenado,” Saunders began his response with the following statement.
"“I believe Arenado does want to be traded and the Rockies are investigating possible deals.”"
Let’s take each of the pieces of this sentence separately and look at them.
First, Arenado wanting to be traded should not come as a huge surprise to anyone who has followed the past year of so where the relationship between Arenado and Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich has grown incredibly icy.
Some quotes from Arenado that we detailed here shortly after winning his eight consecutive Gold Glove highlighted his doubt about what his future holds, with a contract that includes an opt-out clause after the 2021 season and a no-trade clause.
"“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Arenado said. “I think this year will be interesting. I’m hopeful that wherever — I wanna play for a winner. If that’s in Colorado, that’s great. And, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: I just wanna win.”"
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Arenado has made it very clear he wants to play for a winner, and the Rockies are predicted to be anything but that in 2021. The most recent ZiPS projections have Colorado finishing last in the National League West with a 64-98 mark.
What about the Rockies investigating possible deals? That would certainly make sense, but would Colorado be able to get fair market value for Arenado in the current economic climate surrounding our society and Major League Baseball? The answer is likely no, especially with Arenado coming off a year where his offensive production suffered due to a shoulder injury suffered early in the shortened campaign.
While Arenado may want out of Denver and the Rockies may be looking for ways to deal him, Saunders was quick to point out that finding a perfect match and making a trade happen won’t be easy. However, there is some history for the Rockies to remember, Saunders wrote.
"“I’ve talked with a number people in the baseball industry who believe that Bridich would have to engineer a trade similar to the one that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto in July 2015. If you’ll recall, the Rockies had to take on shortstop Jose Reyes’ contract, but the Rockies ultimately ended up saving about $50 million.”"
Like Reyes with Tulowitzki, it’s very likely that the Rockies would have to take on a veteran player’s contract as part of any Arenado deal. However, with Arenado due $35 million per year over the next four years, and a combined $59 million for the 2025 and 2026 seasons, it is likely that the Rockies would save money by absorbing another veteran’s contract.
While an Arenado trade may not be imminent, the groundwork may be being laid on both sides right now for it to become a reality before the end of next season when Arenado’s opt-out clause kicks in.