Nolan Arenado’s Rocky Future with the Colorado Rockies
After signing a contract extension with the team prior to Spring Training last year, Arenado’s future with the Colorado Rockies looks questionable. No longer is Arenado viewed as the potential face of the franchise. A lot of that is due to the frustration that has built up between both parties over the last calendar year.
Just this past week, Arenado came out with a statement to summarize the current state of that relationship. From the comments that Arenado made, it’s easy to see where the tension lies and the questions surrounding the future. As a result, a lot of chatter has accumulated about where Arenado might start the 2020 regular season.
Below are five potential landing spots for Arenado based on various reports and information about those teams needs.
St. Louis Cardinals
Anytime that the Colorado Rockies have a player available on the trade market, it seems like the St. Louis Cardinals are always a natural fit. That is exactly the case with Arenado and the Cardinals would be the perfect fit for his services with their question marks about third base. Additionally, Arenado is the type of player that St. Louis Cardinals fans would embrace and welcome wholeheartedly.
As it stands right now, the Opening Day third baseman for St. Louis would be Tommy Edman with Matt Carpenter being another potential option. While both Edman and Carpenter are talented in their own way, Arenado would be a significant upgrade. Not only would he give the Cardinals a legitimate cleanup hitter, he would help build upon their already impressive defensive metrics.
Additionally, when you look at the Cardinals as currently constructed, Paul Goldschmidt is really the only power bat that other teams fear. Therefore, a clear and convincing argument can be made that St. Louis must add another bat in some form or fashion. If the Cardinals pair Goldschmidt with Arenado in the middle of the lineup, look out National League Central.
The Atlanta Braves have already had quite an offseason and by adding Nolan Arenado to the mix, it would be the cherry on the top for Atlanta. Right now, the Braves already have a very impressive lineup, but Arenado would add further stability.
After missing out on Josh Donaldson, there are a lot of question marks surrounding third base for Atlanta as well. Right now, the Braves plan on opening the season with a platoon of Johan Camargo and Austin Riley at that position. Last season, both Camargo and Riley struggled to some degree so the Braves would be gambling quite a bit.
Furthermore, if the Braves insert Arenado, their infield defense could be among the best in all of baseball. With Freddie Freeman at first base, Ozzie Albies at second, and Dansby Swanson at shortstop, it would be quite an impressive mix. That alone could help the Braves win the National League East for the third consecutive year.
Going into this offseason, the Texas Rangers wanted to make a significant splash or two. After all, the Rangers are getting ready to open up their new stadium, Globe Life Field. Additionally, 2020 was always the season the Rangers targeted for the start of their next championship window.
As a result, the Rangers were connected to several top names on the free-agent market earlier this offseason. However, Texas fell short in their pursuits of those names. Nolan Arenado would be quite a consolation prize for the team and would really catapult them to the next level. The aforementioned, Josh Donaldson was a primary target for the Rangers, but that is now off the table after Donaldson signed a deal with the Minnesota Twins.
Instead of locking up Donaldson, the Rangers inked Todd Frazier to a one-year, $3.5 million dollar deal. The deal also includes a $5.75 million dollar option for the 2021 season. While Frazier could easily fill the current void at third for the Rangers, Arenado would be a much better option. Furthermore, Arenado would give the Rangers another feared bat to pair with the likes of Joey Gallo, Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor, and Shin-Soo Choo.
New York Mets
One of the potential sleeper teams for Nolan Arenado could potentially be the New York Mets. The Mets don’t necessarily have a lot of payroll flexibility at the moment. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Mets have a projected Opening Day, 40-man roster payroll of $188.2 million dollars which is $19.7 million dollars below the first level of the luxury tax threshold.
Therefore, a deal might appear unlikely on the surface, but the Mets might be able to counter some of those financial concerns in a creative manner. For example, the team could potentially include either middle infielder Jed Lowrie or outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The deal would need to include other players and prospects, but that’s one way of offsetting the payroll concerns. Lowrie is set to earn $11.5 million dollars in his final year before free agency, while Cespedes is due to earn $6 million.
One reason why Arenado would fit for the Mets is because of their lack of an everyday third baseman. At the moment, the Opening Day third baseman for the Mets would be Jeff McNeil. McNeil is a terrific option for the Mets, but he is better suited in more of a utility role. Additionally, by adding Arenado, the Mets would have a terrific bat to pair with first baseman, Pete Alonso.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Of the five teams on this list, the Los Angeles Dodgers are probably the least likely landing spot for Nolan Arenado. A big reason why is because the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers play in the same division. Therefore, the Rockies would have to face Arenado and the Dodgers nineteen times a year. Furthermore, the price could be more for the Dodgers as well because of that factor.
When you survey the Los Angeles Dodgers depth chart and roster, there isn’t one glaring hole. In fact, if the Dodgers went into the season with the team as currently constructed, they would likely be the overwhelming favorite in the National League. Los Angeles possesses a lot of talent around the field and multiple, versatile players that can plug into different positions.
Therefore, if the Dodgers were to add Arenado to the mix, current third baseman Justin Turner, would likely be forced to first base. In turn that would push current first baseman, Max Muncy to second base. Gavin Lux would then shift to his natural position at shortstop which would make Corey Seager expendable in another deal. Although the Dodgers don’t have a weakness, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add a bat like Arenado to their lineup.
In the end, the possibility of a Nolan Arenado trade happening prior to Opening Day are still likely very slim. Given how late it is in the offseason, teams wouldn’t have a lot of time to negotiate a proper deal with the Colorado Rockies. However, based on the events of the last week, there is certainly a lot of frustration between Arenado and the Rockies organization. Frustration that results in a lot of question marks about his future with the Rockies. It might be better for both sides to part now before that frustration and tension mounts even more and gets worse.