Rumors of the Cubs showing interest in acquiring Nolan Arenado from the Rockies have persisted over the past couple of weeks. On Wednesday, NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan gave the latest development on the story.
During his radio show Wednesday, Kaplan reported that the Cubs are “absolutely motivated to acquire Arenado,” citing a conversation he had with a source close to the Rockies.
“I was on the phone with somebody in Colorado [Tuesday] night who covers the Rockies,” Kaplan said. “He said to me, ‘hey dude, let me just tell you, these discussions are real. [Arenado] absolutely wants out of the Colorado Rockies organization and he’s made it clear to ownership, ‘I don’t want to be here. Get me outta here.’
“He said, ‘I’m telling you, the Cubs are absolutely motivated to try and get him. Absolutely, 100 percent.'”
Per Kaplan, the Cubs would send Kris Bryant and a prospect to the Rockies for Arenado and some cash. Arenado is discontented with the Rockies, telling Denver7 (Colorado TV station) he feels “disrespected” and “crossed” by general manager Jeff Bridich.
Les Shapiro of Mile High Sports Radio concurred with Kaplan's report, even adding Arenado would "warmly welcome a trade to the Cubs."
(2/2) the direction of the @rockies organization. I'm told he would warmly welcome a trade to the @cubs. The @cubs will continue to pursue this throughout spring training. (The @cubs also are fearful he could end up w/the division rival @Cardinals.) #rockies #cubs #mlbnetwork
(2/2) the direction of the @rockies organization. I'm told he would warmly welcome a trade to the @cubs. The @cubs will continue to pursue this throughout spring training. (The @cubs also are fearful he could end up w/the division rival @Cardinals.) #rockies #cubs #mlbnetwork— Les Shapiro (@LesShapiro) February 12, 2020
A Bryant-Arenado swap wouldn’t net the Cubs any young assets but it would be the significant roster shakeup Theo Epstein and Co. have tried for all winter. To that point, ESPN’s Jeff Passan said Tuesday on “Waddle and Silvy” that the Cubs still want to make that kind of a move.
“They’re still talking to teams. They’re still talking about Nolan Arenado,” Passan said. “They want to make a big move here, and they’ve had months to do it and haven’t. They are still absolutely — even though players are going to be reporting to camp this week — looking to do something.”
Adding Arenado and his $35 million 2020 salary would put the Cubs over the luxury tax threshold, meaning they would have to make a secondary move at some point this season to shed money. Arenado also has an opt-out after 2021, so the Cubs would likely want to make she he doesn’t exercise that before acquiring him.
There’s some smoke to the fire, here. Whether or not Arenado winds up in Chicago is far less clear.