Add another player to this offseason’s loaded third base market. Wednesday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the Rockies are willing to listen to trade inquiries on star third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Rockies are willing to listen to trade inquiries on superstar 3B Nolan Arenado (and anyone else); they’ve gotten many calls on him since trade deadline. Would shake up monster 3B market (Rendon, Donaldson, Bryant) but no one sees as likely yet. Has full no-trade so up to him.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2019
In addition to Arenado, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is also potentially available for trade, based on several reports, while Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson are free agents.
Being “willing” to listen to trade inquires and seriously considering a deal are two very different things. Like the Cubs and Bryant, the Rockies would be foolish not to listen to inquiries regarding Arenado — or any of their players.
Arenado is a superstar and has averaged a .300/.362/.575 line, with 40 homers and 124 RBIs since 2015. Even playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field, that’s impressive. The 28-year-old has been an All-Star each of the past five years and has won seven-straight Gold Glove Awards.
In theory, Arenado’s availability affects the Cubs and Bryant’s trade market. Players like Arenado don’t grow on trees, and if teams want him bad enough, they could elect to pursue him rather than Bryant. This would take away suitors for the Cubs third baseman.
But in actuality, Arenado’s availability doesn’t change much for the Cubs.
Arenado signed a monster eight-year, $260 million deal with the Rockies in February. The Rockies may have to eat some of his salary in a trade, as it’s questionable if a team would take on Arenado’s full contract and give up a decent return package.
Example: when the Marlins dealt Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees in December 2017, Miami also sent $30 million to New York. In turn, the Yankees took on $260-$265 million of the $290 million left on Stanton’s contract, sending Starlin Castro and two prospects to Miami.
Arenado is much greater commitment than Bryant — both financially and in years. Bryant is projected to make $18.5 million in arbitration next season, a little more than half of Arenado’s $35 million salary.
There is a caveat with both players’ contract lengths. Arenado’s deal runs through 2026, but he can opt-out after 2021. Bryant is under contract through 2021, but if he wins his ongoing grievance case, he’ll hit the open market next winter.
Arenado also has a full no-trade clause, which would complicate any possible negotiations.
Teams will have to weigh acquiring Arenado and taking on his massive salary, all while considering how he may leave in free agency in two years. The latter is true about Bryant as well, but he's the more affordable player.
And, ultimately, numerous teams are seeking a third baseman this winter. Once Rendon and Donaldson sign, the focus will shift to Arenado and Bryant for the three teams that lose out.
One GM involved in the bidding for All-Star third basemen Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson: It's going to be a game of musical chairs, two guys for four or five spots.'' #Rangers, #Braves, #Nats, #Dodgers, #Angels.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 11, 2019
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