Faced with the prospect of a huge void at third base, the Atlanta Braves are coming back into the fray on Nolan Arenado.
If the Colorado Rockies are willing to move Nolan Arenado, at least 25 teams could make a case to have interest in him. According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Atlanta Braves have inquired about the five-time All-Star third baseman.
A major consideration for the Braves, or any team who might make a deal for Arenado, is the seven years and $234 million he’s due under the contract extension he only signed less than a year ago. He can also opt out after the 2021 season. But the seven-year, $245 million deal Anthony Rendon got from the Los Angeles Angels is comparable, and Arenado is roughly 10 months younger.
The Braves have the prospect capital to get Colorado’s attention in talks regarding Arenado, and they are faced with losing free agent Josh Donaldson. Donaldson had a resurgent 2019 campaign, with 37 home runs , 94 RBI and a .900 OPS while playing top-notch defense at the hot corner. But teams have apparently been hesitant to pony up with a fourth year on a free agent contract for him, and the Braves have been prominent in those type of reports.
If the Braves are resigned to not bringing Donaldson back, and they may very well be at this point, Arenado looks like the only way to upgrade at third base. Donaldson accounted for 6.1 bWAR last season, while Arenado accounted for 5.7 bWAR last year and has delivered at least 5.6 bWAR in five straight seasons. In a certain light skeptics could sen Donaldson’s 2019 as a well-timed, contract drive resurgence.
Arenado also has a full no-trade clause, as expected with a contract the size of his, which is a huge factor in talks of a deal to move him. He can handpick his destination, with an emphasis on teams with a shot to win the World Series if that’s his preference.
The Braves have nothing to lose by engaging the Rockies on Arenado, or re-engaging as it were since they reportedly had interest earlier in the offseason. The barriers to a deal are clear, on both ends, but the door is not yet closed on a deal that would send Arenado to Atlanta.