Nolan Arenado’s future with the Colorado Rockies has become one of the most intriguing storylines of the 2020-2021 MLB offseason. With a deal likely on the horizon, who are the potential suitors for the superstar third baseman?
Nolan Arenado has cemented himself as one of the league’s premier talents. He boasts a .293/.349/.541 career slash line with 235 home runs and 760 RBIs. To add to his slugging prowess, Arenado is the best defensive third baseman in the league, winning gold gloves in all eight of his major league seasons.
Combined, he has become one of the most valuable players, posting a 38.9 career WAR. In 2019, the Rockies rewarded him with an 8-year/$260 million extension to keep him in Colorado until 2026. At the time, both Arenado and GM Jeff Bridich seemed committed to seeing that contract through. However, it appears that is no longer the case.
Colorado’s intention to move their superstar dates back to last offseason, but all serious talks subsided due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the rumors have started up again, and they appear more realistic this time around.
There are plenty of reasons why an Arenado trade makes sense:
First, Arenado has reportedly grown frustrated with the organization. When rumors first circulated last year, Nolan said he felt “disrespected” in Colorado. It is clear his relationship with Bridich and the Rockies’ front office has frayed.
Next, like many smaller market teams, the Rockies were hit hard financially by the pandemic. Due to his massive extension, Arenado is owed $199 million over the next six years. He is slated to make $35 million in 2021, which would account for 26.8% of Colorado’s payroll. Owner Dick Monfort has hinted at his desire to cut costs this offseason. Moving Arenado would be a great place to start.
Finally, Arenado has an opt out option following the 2021 season. That means he can eat up over a fourth of their payroll and leave them empty-handed in 2022 and beyond. Given the situation, its likely he will exercise that option and test free agency next season.
So with a franchise-transforming superstar like Nolan Arenado available on the market, potential suitors should be lining up out the door, right? In normal times, yes, but these are not normal times. Most owners are in full savings mode after the financial losses they suffered in 2020, so the market for Arenado is limited to big market teams. Arenado also has a no-trade clause, which gives him veto power
A talent like Arenado will require a large haul of valuable young prospects, so teams pursuing him are going to be in win-now mode. However, if Monfort and Bridich are really committed to unloading his franchise-record contract, there will be someone willing to take him.
Here are the three potential landing spots for Nolan Arenado: