MLB Trade Rumors: Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies All-Star third baseman, has a 50/50 chance of being traded this offseason, with the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals possible destinations, according to Jon Paul Morosi.
Personally, I’d take the under on Arenado having a 50% chance of being traded, but then, I didn’t even write up a post when there were a couple of tweets about the Rangers talking to the Cleveland Indians about a Corey Kluber trade a few weeks ago, and then they landed him the next day, so...
Morosi says that the Los Angeles Dodgers want Arenado, but the Rockies don’t want to trade their star within the division less than a year after signing him to a huge extension. The Nationals and the Braves are both pursuing Josh Donaldson, as well, while the Nationals have reportedly also asked about the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant (and have Victor Robles as a want from the Cubs in a Bryant deal).
Donaldson supposedly has four year deals on the table from the Minnesota Twins, the Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Nationals, though as always, the structure and AAV of the deal matter — if the fourth year is a team option or a vesting option, for example, or significantly lowers the over AAV of the deal, that four year deal may not be as attractive as it appears.
All the teams in on Arenado are supposedly in on Donaldson as well — in the link above, Mark Feinsand says that the Dodgers and Rangers are also potential landing spots for Donaldson — and there is also the possibility of Kris Bryant being available, though his pending grievance, and it being unknown whether he will be a free agent after 2020 or 2021 until that is resolved, has his situation in limbo.
The conventional wisdom was that, once Anthony Rendon signed, Josh Donaldson would quickly follow and then the trade market would heat up or fizzle out. Instead, everything seems to be in stasis rather now, and it leads me to wonder if the talk about teams being interested in an Arenado trade is being used to try to create pressure on Donaldson, since, for example, if the Braves traded for Arenado, he would have one less suitor.
I’m genuinely surprised that we are almost a month past the Rendon deal being reported, and there’s still no movement on the rest of the third base market. Maybe teams are waiting to see what happens with Bryant. Maybe Donaldson is holding out for better terms, or has a preferred destination that hasn’t stepped up to the table with an offer as good as what other teams have made. I don’t know.
I will say that I continue to be skeptical that Arenado gets dealt. His contract is both very large — he gets $35 million per year from 2020-24, then $32 million in 2025, and $27 million in 2026 — and has an opt-out clause after 2021, meaning that, if he thinks he can beat the 5/$164M that would remain on the contract after the 2021 season, he can become a free agent again. The upshot is that a team either gets Arenado for only two years, or they get him for seven years, but with the final five years before for a dollar amount no better than, or greater than, what he could get on the open market, meaning any surplus value would be captured only in 2020 and 2021.
So an acquiring team would probably want that opt out eliminated in exchange for something else for Arenado in any deal. And Arenado has a full no-trade clause he would have to waive. And the Rockies are going to want significant prospects in any deal — Morosi says that the Braves could give a young major league starting pitcher and one out of Cristian Pache, Austin Riley and Drew Waters, a deal that would seem to be a tremendous overpay unless the Rockies are kicking in significant dollars in the deal.
Even if you buy the notion that there is a 50/50 chance Arenado is dealt, the chances of Texas being the team he lands with, given the number of suitors, seems slim. For all angst and anticipation among Rangers fans right now over the possibility of Texas getting Arenado this offseason, the chances of it happening seem so remote that I don’t know that the extent of the fixation makes sense.
But hey, I thought that about Corey Kluber too, so...