The Braves have never been big on opt-out clauses. Look at any contract they
Nolan Arenado may very well be the best third baseman in baseball, and he has seemingly been made available. He is a perennial All-Star, Gold Glove Award winner, and MVP candidate. He is Josh Donaldson and then some, and acquiring him could be the move that puts this Braves team over the top. However, with the way his contract is currently structured,
Arenado was signed to an 8-year, $260 million
The Braves wisely want to hold their chips as they seek to build a long-term winner. But to get to the top, sometimes it takes a
They have the leg up as far as assets go, and Arenado could be theirs if they really wanted. It would also give them a long-term solution at the hot corner, which would give the Braves a surplus of outfielders to find the right combination. The Braves have Ronald Acuna Jr. locked up until 2027. Ender Inciarte is under contract for at least two more years, with an option for 2022. They control Adam Duvall for three more years and have Nick Markakis in 2020 as well. But then you look at the young talent. Assuming he would not be part of the package, Austin Riley would be moving to the outfield, which he is proven capable of handling. Then the Braves also have Drew Waters, Cristian Pache, and Trey Harris all creeping up the pipeline. So while there are questions about this group heading into this season, it’s actually an area of strength
The biggest hiccup here is the fact that after the 2021 season, Arenado has an opt-out in his contract. If he were to exercise this, the Braves would be giving up extreme prospect capital to acquire him at a much higher annual cost than Kris Bryant. If they were to make this deal, they would likely demand that this opt-out be removed, and Arenado would really have to be sold on the Braves to agree to something like that. He is set to make $35 million with bonuses until his age 34
That is going to end up being the bottom line in this deal. If the Braves are going to give up their top prospects, they need to know that they will control him through 2026. Though losing young guys would sting, making a move for Arenado would give them an elite core for the better part of this decade, assuming they were to lock up Freddie Freeman as well. There are a lot of question marks, but a possible deal is really in Arenado’s hands.