With top starters Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg off the board, Anthony Rendon is the lone superstar remaining in free agency.
The Nationals, Angels, Phillies, Dodgers and Rangers have all been rumored to be interested in the third baseman, who’s already received “numerous” seven-year offers. But only one team will land Rendon, and with Josh Donaldson representing perhaps the only other viable starting third baseman left in free agency, the clubs that fall short will be left scrambling for a backup plan.
One potential option on the trade market is Kris Bryant, whom the Nationals reportedly inquired about at the Winter Meetings this week. Now, another All-Star third baseman has been made available in the Rockies’ five-time All-Star 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
Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million extension with the Rockies last offseason that included a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2021. There’s still $234 million plus plenty of incentives left on the deal, making it a comparable contract to what Rendon is expected to receive in this winter’s active market.
But one significant obstacle that could hold up a deal is Arenado’s full no-trade clause, giving him the ability to deny any trade should it be accepted by the team. He obviously wouldn’t have agreed to stay with the Rockies if he didn’t like Colorado, but the team has only made the playoffs twice in his seven-year career and was swept in its sole NLDS appearance (2018).
The amount of prospect value the Rockies would ask for in return likely depends on how much salary opposing teams are willing to take on.
When Giancarlo Stanton was traded by the Marlins to the Yankees in 2017, Miami only received one top-100 prospect, a 17-year-old signee out of the Dominican Republic and infielder Starlin Castro—but New York absorbed all of the salary aside from $30 million that will only be paid by the Marlins if Stanton doesn’t exercise his opt-out in 2020.
Arenado is a career .295 hitter who’s played in at least 150 games and hit over 30 home runs in five straight seasons. In addition to placing among the top eight in NL MVP voting each of those five years, Arenado is also a seven-time Gold Glove recipient at third base. He's played his entire career in Colorado.
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