The Rockies are “willing to listen” to trade proposals regarding third baseman Nolan Arenado, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). But Colorado fans probably shouldn’t chuck their #28 threads just yet.
In their public statements, at least, the Rockies’ top decisionmakers have been steadfast in saying they intend to press for contention in 2020. That’s complicated by a tight budgetary picture, but we can’t ignore what the team has said to fans to this point.
Also important: Arenado has full no-trade rights under the massive extension he inked in February. He has emphasized a desire to play for a winning outfit, so perhaps he’d consider waiving his protection on the heels of a forgettable campaign for the Colorado organization. Regardless, it’s a potential complication to any negotiations.
Beyond that, it’s tough to fathom that the Rockies will let Arenado go lightly. This isn’t a case of buyer’s remorse. The 28-year-old put up a typically excellent season in 2019, slashing .315/.379/.583 with 41 home runs over 662 plate appearances. He’s a high-grade fielder who has scarcely missed any action over the past five seasons.
While Arenado’s contract is not a cheap one — $234MM over seven years, to be exact — teams with potential interest are already weighing enormous outlays for Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson. It has become clear in recent weeks that there’s not quite enough supply to meet the demand for those players, which helps explain why the Cubs have even engaged some rival teams regarding Kris Bryant.
It remains to be seen whether any serious talks emerge regarding Arenado. The fact that he can opt out after the 2021 season may reduce the willingness of teams to make a big offer, though two mid-prime seasons of Arenado is nothing to sneeze at. Regardless of how things develop, this news makes for an interesting market development as Rendon and Donaldson rise to the top of the leaderboard of available free agents.
As might be suspected, Heyman adds that the openness to discussing Arenado also implies that the Rox are not ruling out any other players entirely. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon is perhaps the most sensible high-end veteran target on paper. It’d be harder for the team to part with Trevor Story, Jon Gray, or German Marquez, but it’s now somewhat easier to imagine the Colorado front office exploring wider-ranging possibilities.