Here’s how Nolan Arenado can end up with the Braves.
The COVID-19 pandemic has the entire sports world in flux, and while MLB owners and players can assure us they’re taking “when and where” quite literally, there’s no telling how baseball will progress from here, even with a plan in place. The league’s transaction freeze was lifted on Friday, allowing teams to sign reinforcements in these times of uncertainty, should they choose.
Last we checked, the Atlanta Braves still need a third baseman after losing Josh Donaldson to the Minnesota Twins. Johan Camargo and Austin Riley are capable, but the dip in production, especially in the power department, will be significant for Atlanta at the hot corner.
Should the Braves trade for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado?
This is all, of course, contingent on there actually being a baseball season, and the Aug. 31 trade deadline remaining intact. Should that remain the case, then the easy answer here is yes.
Arenado is 29 years old and signed to a long-term contract. While that deal is expensive ($260 million over eight years), it guarantees one of the best all-around third basemen in the game will remain under team control for the foreseeable future.
The only downside to dealing for Arenado is the return, which despite the disgruntled star’s willingness to compete elsewhere, will still be high. The Braves are never trading top prospect Christian Pache, so we won’t pretend that’s in the cards. Outfielder Drew Waters, however, isn’t much of a downgrade at No. 26 in all of MLB.
Along with Waters, Colorado would likely require one of the Braves’ top system arms, and either Kyle Wright or Bryse Wilson fits the bill. Another top-20 prospect, perhaps third baseman CJ Alexander, should help matters as well.
The Braves have shown previous interest in Kris Bryant, so assuming Arenado’s mentality in Colorado hasn’t done a complete 180, it’s not absurd to assume Atlanta as a potential fit. Whether they’re willing to part ways with the prospect capital necessary to make a deal remains to be seen.