The very thin third baseman market just got a lot more interesting with the addition of another superstar candidate.
Rockies are willing to listen to trade inquiries on superstar 3B Nolan Arenado (and anyone else); they’ve gotten many calls on him since trade deadline. Would shake up monster 3B market (Rendon, Donaldson, Bryant) but no one sees as likely yet. Has full no-trade so up to him.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2019
It appears the Rockies are finally open to trading their best player and franchise cornerstone. In my opinion, Arenado is a top three third baseman in baseball, along with the Astros Alex Bregman and free agent Anthony Rendon. His numbers and accolades speak for themselves:
2019: .315/.379/.583/.962, 41 HR, 118 RBI
Career: .295/.351/.546/.897, 227 HR, 734 RBI
Silver Slugger: 2015-2018
Gold Glove: 2013-2019
Platinum Glove: 2017-2019
It’s not every day you see a player as well rounded as Nolan on the market. However, the Coors Field effect has to be considered. He does see a small drop off away from Denver, but it is not nearly as outrageous compared to some of his teammates.
Away Splits 2019: .277/.346/.521/.866, 20 HR, 48 RBI
Away Career Splits: .265/.323/.476/.799, 98 HR, 288 RBI
His contract is a big talking point. He is being well compensated for his performance. However, he’s only 29, and with Ronald Acuña and Ozzie Albies on the deals that they are, the Braves probably have the cheddar – with a little maneuvering – to make this whole thing work. His contract will also help soften the blow in terms of prospect cost.
As long as you hang on to one of Waters/Pache/Ian Anderson, they can have whoever else they want. I think Austin Riley would be a good match for Coors Field, and the Rockies are always starving for arms that will play in Colorado. Not only does he fill a massive need in the field, but he’s one of the best cleanup hitters in all of baseball, so there’s a natural spot in the lineup as well. The match for prospects, MLB ready talent, and the player’s ability to fit onto the payroll is almost too perfect. It would be out of character for Atlanta to take on a contract like this, but this kind of franchise-altering move would have the Braves competing for championships for years to come.
His splits away from Coors Field don’t worry me at all. Arenado will be a hitting machine wherever he lands – if the Rockies decide to trade him – and SunTrust Park isn’t exactly a pitcher’s paradise. What scares me, and what will ultimately prevent the Braves from pursuing him will be the overall cost.
Not only is Arenado scheduled to make $234 million over the next seven seasons, which has never been the Braves’ way, but he will also cost an arm and a leg in terms of prospects. At the end of the day, why would Atlanta avoid signing Anthony Rendon to a mega-deal and then turn around and give up a treasure chest of prospects for a similar player on a similar contract? It doesn’t make a lot of sense. If the Braves aren’t seriously in the market for Rendon, they aren’t going to be clearing the farm for Arenado.
As of yesterday, the notion is that Atlanta will fill in their third base vacancy through free agency. Jim Bowden reported that they are not involved in talks with the Cubs around Kris Bryant. However, things might change if Josh Donaldson decides to sign elsewhere, especially with a division rival.