According to multiple reports, Atlanta has checked in on Colorado’s star third baseman Nolan Arenado. Unfortunately, it still feels like a long shot that anything happens. In a piece yesterday for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal mentioned that the Braves have had talks with the Rockies, but those talks didn’t go very far.
The Braves also checked in on Arenado but made no progress toward a deal, a source said.
Rockies beat reporter Patrick Sanders also confirmed that the Braves are interested in Arenado.
Sources tell me that #Rockies-Cardinals trade for Nolan Arenado is "not as close" as has been reported But #Braves are interested, too.
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) January 29, 2021
Still, it doesn’t appear as if anything is close, and multiple other reports suggest the Cardinals are leading the charge for the eight-time Gold Glove third baseman.
I recently did a piece on trade targets at the hot corner. I placed each candidate into three sections — unlikely, possible, and green light. Arenado fell under the possible category for these reasons:
Arenado’s arguably the best player on this list. He’s won eight straight Gold Gloves and is the owner of four Silver Sluggers. Over his last five full seasons, he’s averaged a .947 OPS with nearly 40 homers and 125 RBIs per season. Sure, Arenado plays half of his games at Coors Field, but he’s a bonafide stud no matter the arena.
I have Arenado in the possible category because it is about time for the Rockies to face the music. He has an opt-out clause after the 2021 season, and there is no way Colorado should think they can compete with the moves that Los Angeles and San Diego have made this offseason. It’s time for the Rockies to enter a complete rebuild, and that starts with trading Arenado.
In the same breathe, that opt-out clause after the 2021 season makes things tricky for teams trying to trade for Arenado. Are you getting the All-Star third baseman for one year or six? That difference will dictate his trade value. Arenado would have to show some willingness to stay in Atlanta past this season for Anthopoulos to consider parting ways with his best prospects. Even still, his $35 million AAV may be too much for the Braves to take on, especially with extensions for players such as Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson, and others looming.
Because of Arenado’s opt-out clause, it will be difficult for any team to strike a deal with the Rockies. He would surely waive his no-trade clause to go to St. Louis or Atlanta, but will he give either team the insurance that he would be in for the long haul. That could be key for a trade to go down. I don’t imagine the Braves will be interested if he is just a one-year rental.
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