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Texas Rangers’ Nolan Arenado interest remains high

The Rangers and Cardinals are seen as the strongest contenders for Nolan Arenado, should he be dealt

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Trade Rumors: Nolan Arenado is of interest to the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals, should the Colorado Rockies deal their All Star third baseman, according to Jon Paul Morosi today. Rumors of Arenado being a possible trade candidate have swirled all offseason, and the Rockies appeared to try to put that to rest earlier this week by saying they weren’t dealing him, but that prompted Arenado to go public with allegations of “disrespect” from the Rockies front office.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am skeptical that Arenado will be dealt before the season, and even more skeptical he would end up with the Rangers. As I mentioned last week when discussing Jeff Passan’s tweet about Arenado being unlikely to be dealt, the combination of the Rockies’ desire for top talent in return for Arenado, Arenado having an opt-out after 2021, and Arenado’s no trade clause are significant hurdles to overcome for a deal to happen.

The post-2021 opt out is problematic because a team acquiring Arenado takes on the risk of being upside (potentially significantly upside down) on the contract for five years after 2021, but if the contract is not upside down, Arenado would likely opt out, meaning that teams are taking on more risk but getting less potential benefit. Teams are not going to give up as much for Arenado with the opt out as they would if it were the same contract with no opt out, or as they would if it were simply a two year deal, with Arenado being a free agent after 2021. The Rockies, according to g.m. Jeff Bridich, volunteered the opt out to Arenado’s side without Arenado asking for it, which, ironically, now has hamstrung the Rockies in their attempts to find a deal for Arenado.

The other issue is that Arenado’s angst with the Rockies appears driven by a belief that the Rockies aren’t doing enough to win now. The no-trade clause means that Arenado is going to look to steer any deal to a team that he has confidence is in win-now mode. While the Rangers have made moves to improve this offseason, they’ve been in rebuilding mode the past several years and have not had a winning season since 2017. If Arenado can choose between going to Texas and, say, going to the St. Louis Cardinals, who are also pursuing him, he may use the no-trade to force a deal to a preferred destination.