Nolan Arenado Trade is “Inevitable”, So Let’s Explore a Dodgers-Rockies Blockbuster Deal

Rockies star 3B Nolan Arenado has made it very clear that he is currently unhappy in Colorado, saying he feels “disrespected” by GM Jeff Bridich.

However, Bridich has remained steadfast in his stance that he plans on having Arenado suit up for the Rockies come this spring.

“We have listened to teams regarding Nolan and really nothing has come of it. We are going to move forward pretty much as we expected — with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman,” Bridich said.

Jim Bowden wrote on Monday that a Nolan Arenado trade is “inevitable“, but that it’s going to have to be quite a haul for the Rockies and will most likely be an offer the team simply cannot refuse.

When Arenado signed his extension he made it to clear to management that he wants to win, and due to a multitude of factors, one being the team’s front office seeming to be complacent with their roster (they literally didn’t sign a single free agent or make one trade), winning in Colorado has not happened, nor looks to be in the team’s immediate future.

All that being said, it’s important to remember that Arenado has a 2021 opt-out in his mega contract, so if things remain the same, Colorado can expect to lose their star 3rd baseman after the 2021 season — meaning Bridich and the team may want to reconsider holding onto Arenado.

His trade value won’t get any higher than it is now, given that he’s under contract for 2 full seasons, at least.

Another important thing to remember is that Arenado has a FULL no-trade clause, meaning he ultimately controls where he will go, and can rule out any teams that he himself won’t accept a trade to.

Fun fact: Nolan Arenado is from Newport Beach, grew up a Dodgers fan, and went to El Toro High School 😉

As you can see above, Arenado is certainly not cheap, but in my mind, he’s worth every penny (the green indicates his opt out after the 2021 season).

Arenado put out a comment a few days ago that only added more fuel to the fire:

Needless to say, there’s trouble in paradise.

Now, with the Dodgers currently well below the luxury tax, their lack of long-term contract commitments in the future, and Justin Turner’s willingness to play elsewhere on the diamond (and the fact that his contract is up after this season), the slim possibility of Arenado in Dodger Blue has me salivating, so let’s explore it.

Prefacing all of this with the chances the Rockies trade him within the division are certainly very small, but factoring in what seems to be his imminent departure in 2 years, I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility altogether for one reason: the Dodgers can offer a better package of players and prospects than anyone else.

Here’s what MLB sources are saying about the return the Rockies would require in order to deal their star:

Hmmm, major league talent and a potential no. 1 catching prospect for the long term? Sound familiar? It should, because the Dodgers have not 1, not 2, but 3 potential no. 1 catchers in their system or in the farm.

Will Smith, Keibert Ruiz, or Diego Cartaya (most likely Ruiz or Cartaya) would certainly be in the trade, so let’s start there.

Now, again, factoring in the in-division trade, the Rockies would have to be floored in order to complete a trade with the Dodgers, and I’m here to tell you the Dodgers can knock their socks off and still be prospect-rich — oh, and they have the talent in the farm to do so without surrendering Gavin Lux or Dustin May.

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Jeter Downs SS/2B

Josiah Gray P

DJ Peters OF

Michael Busch 2B

Kody Hoese 3B

At least one, probably two of these top guys would most likely be included, with Ruiz or Cartaya.

Hoese makes sense as a long-term replacement for Arenado, but Downs, Gray and Peters will be able to contribute for the Rockies much sooner, possibly making them more appealing to Bridich.

Now adding to the trade (I warned you in advance it’s going to take a mountain for the Dodgers to land Arenado), the major league talent. The Rockies say they want to compete, and the Dodgers have a logjam in the outfield, so the likely casualty of an Arenado trade would be Joc Pederson. Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda or Tony Gonsolin are possibilities in the trade as well.

How I envision it:

  1. Catching prospect: Ruiz or Cartaya (Smith dark-horse)
  2. Additional top prospect(s): Peters, Downs, Gray, Hoese, Busch
    1. depending on which, possibly two of this bunch
  3. Major League talent (2): Pederson, Stripling/Maeda/Gonsolin

The Dodgers are set up for success for many years to come with what they have, and especially with the youth movement happening in the farm system, but you add a 28-year-old Nolan Arenado in his prime to the mix, and you’re really cooking with gas now.

The team missed on Cole, Strasburg, and Rendon, it looks like the Indians won’t part with Lindor unless the Dodgers fork over Lux, and the Mookie Betts ship may have sailed as the Padres look to be the heavy favorites to land the star outfielder, plus also possibly due to the Red Sox wanting David Price packaged in that deal (something I personally would still do for the right price, no pun intended).

The National League has gotten a lot more competitive this offseason, and while the weak NL West has led to a form of complacency from Andrew Friedman, this is a no-brainer if he’s able to get the Rockies to break the unwritten rule of intra-division trades.

The Padres and Diamondbacks are both gunning for the West, and this year may prove to be a tougher test than year’s past for the still-favorite Dodgers.

*pounds fists on table* 

The prospects I mentioned above could VERY WELL turn out to be superstars, there’s no doubt about that. But guess what, Nolan Arenado IS a superstar. He plugs in to an already devastating lineup, and would give the Dodgers that cornerstone player to pair with Bellinger and Buehler for the next 5-10 years.

I mean look at this projected lineup and if you can tell me you aren’t salivating, then something is wrong with you.

CF Verdugo

1B Muncy

3B Arenado

RF Bellinger

2B Turner

SS Seager

LF Lux

C Smith

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The chances the Rockies trade Arenado within the division are very low, but could knowing he’s all but packed his bags for his departure in 2 years change that for GM Jeff Bridich? Especially if Andrew Friedman comes knocking with a package that he simply cannot turn down?

It’s time for Friedman to put on his dancing shoes, open up the war chest and go to Denver with the big guns. Players like Arenado don’t come around often, and if any team can afford to dip into the farm to pull this blockbuster off, it’s the Dodgers.

Be sure to follow me on twitter (@_therealdrose) and let me know what you think.

David Rosenthal is a writer and contributor for Dodgers LowDown. Follow him on twitter @_TherealDRose

Photo Credit: Ric Tapia, Getty Images

RIP Kobe Bryant