The Colorado Rockies have a dilemma on their hands. After falling well below expectations in the 2019 season, the Rockies future plans appear to be in question, leading to speculation that the team could look to trade All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Colorado signed Arenado to an eight-year, $260 million contract less than one year ago, but after a 2019 campaign that ended with a 71-91 record, there are questions regarding Arenado’s availability on the trade market.
The rumors started at the beginning of December when ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that numerous teams had inquired about Arenado’s availability. Passan added that the talks went nowhere at the time.
From there, national outlets added fuel to the fire by reporting that numerous teams were interested in trading for Arenado. The rumors around Arenado intensified once again when Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic penned an article dubbing the idea of trading Arenado as feasible.
Rosenthal stated the common facts about Arenado that Rockies’ fans have come to know: He has an opt-out after 2021, over $150 million on the books, and a full no-trade clause.
This is a triple threat when it comes to trying to work out a deal for the superstar third baseman and will undoubtedly present challenges during negotiations, should they ever take place.
Things died down for a little bit around the holidays, but MLB.com’s Jon Morosi started the new year off with a bang by reporting that there is “roughly a 50/50 chance” that the Rockies trade Arenado.
This is a bold statement and one that certainly startled Rockies’ fans. Usually, when there is smoke, there is fire, but the Rockies have yet to show any indication they plan to trade Arenado.
On the flip side, the Rockies could put these rumors to sleep by making a statement, reaffirming that they will not trade Arenado this offseason.
The Rockies certainly are keeping all their options open and have spoken with teams about Arenado, although there has not been any concrete evidence to suggest talks have progressed past the preliminary stages.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post followed up Morosi’s report, saying that it would be surprising if Arenado was flipped before Spring Training, but also acknowledged Morosi’s report as “fair.”
The entire situation remains a mystery as the Rockies and Arenado have been radio silent about the topic this offseason.
It’s worth noting that if Arenado was to be traded, it would be at his discretion given his full no-trade clause. Arenado has never said he wants to be traded, and he signed an extension with the team under the idea they would be competitive in the coming years.
The Rockies brass came out after the season and essentially said their hands were going to be tied this offseason financially, which has proved to be true. Colorado has made no significant improvements to their roster this offseason, and any moves they have made have been for players on minor league contracts.
After a dismal 2019 season in which Arenado was visibly frustrated at times, it is not outlandish to believe he has considered the idea of moving on elsewhere, whether it be via trade or by opting out of his contract after 2021.
Locally, the expectation is that Arenado will be back with the Rockies in 2020. However, it’s unknown what will happen if the Rockies struggle like they did last season.
Arenado is the Rockies’ best player in franchise history, so the club needs to be cautious with how they handle this situation. Colorado has made the postseason in two of the last three seasons and have one of the best lineups in the sport. If the Rockies believe they can be competitive in 2020 and beyond, trading Arenado makes no sense.
However, if the Rockies feel they need to re-tool their team, the haul from a trade involving Arenado could be substantial and set the team up for years to come.
Either way, the Rockies have a critical and delicate situation on their hands, and the outcome could prove to impact the future of the organization significantly.