If the Colorado Rockies are really open to trading Nolan Arenado, these five teams should be in the mix.
One of the most significant free agents went off the board Wednesday night, as Anthony Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. That also leaves teams looking for a third baseman a little thinner for options, but according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network the Colorado Rockies are “willing to listen” to trade offers for Nolan Arenado.
Less than a year ago, Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million contract extension with the Rockies. He’s due to make $234 million over the next seven years, and he also has a full no-trade clause that allows him to block a deal to the other 29 teams. But if it means going to a legit World Series contender, which Colorado does not look to be coming of a 71-91 season in 2019, Arenado would surely waive that no-trade clause. He openly professed his desire to win as last season was winding down. He told The Denver Post in September:
How do I evaluate this team? We’re behind. We’re going to lose close to 90-some games. And that wasn’t the plan when I signed, that wasn’t the goal.
Arenado can also opt out of his contract after the 2021 season, which may limit the return for the Rockies in a trade if teams are scared off by that prospect. But even getting only two years of one the best third baseman around, and one of the best players in baseball, might be worth the risk for a lot of teams.
The odds the Rockies trade Arenado seem very slim, and if it does happen it may not happen until closer to next July’s trade deadline. But if they’re open for business nothing should be ruled out, and these five teams should be preparing offers.
5. Washington Nationals
The Nationals of course did not retain Rendon, as they essentially had to choose between he and Stephen Strasburg if ownership is to be believed. As they pivot toward other options at third base, including free agent Josh Donaldson and the possibility of making a deal with the Chicago Cubs for Kris Bryant, Arenado should land on the radar of the defending champions.
Payroll expenditure and the luxury tax threshold may be a broad concern for Washington. But as Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk cited in a piece related to Nationals-Bryant rumors, they should enjoy a nice revenue boost from their World Series win and they’re set to come out well in their long-running dispute with the Baltimore Orioles and MASN.
It would be next to impossible to replace Rendon with someone better. Arenado is that rare player, so Washington has to be thinking about the possibility.