There’s not a lot of Rockies news heading into the deadest weeks on the baseball calendar. But there is some news, or at least speculation, about the one topic you’re likely sick of hearing about. If it’s any consolation, you’ll be way sicker of this topic in the near-future than you are at this current moment.
Enjoy the holidays!
There’s really nothing new here. The Rockies aren’t planning on making a serious move to improve their chances of contention this offseason, because they feel they’re at a payroll ceiling and also because think they’re already in a position to compete and don’t need to improve with external additions. Yup.
Two likely trade chips, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee, will be hard to move because they’re a) not very good and b) part of the reason the Rockies are at a payroll ceiling. Mmmhmm.
Oh, and the Rockies are searching for a veteran catcher to, presumably, serve as Tony Wolters’s backup. Right now it looks like Drew Butera and Dom Nuñez will compete for that spot come spring training. Indeed.
To wrap it up, Patrick Saunders does his due diligence and acknowledges that, yes, many people are talking about a Nolan Arenado trade. After enumerating the reasons why it’s highly unlikely, he ends with this: “Despite all of that, the possibility of an Arenado trade in the future can’t be completely dismissed.”
And that brings us to...
The reason the idea of a trade can’t be outright dismissed is because of Nolan Arenado’s opt-out after the 2021 season, which was Jeff Bridich’s idea because it’s quite possible Bridich actually wants Arenado to opt out. Because the Rockies just wrapped up a terrible season, and few people outside of the C-suite offices at Coors Field think they’ll be in a great position as they currently stand in 2020, and without internal reinforcements on the horizon, that 2021 opt-out is looking mighty close at hand. “Thus,” Ken Rosenthal writes, “Bridich has little choice but to entertain trade discussions, knowing he must protect the franchise against the possibility Arenado will depart.”
And given the fact of the near-term opt-out and the money owed, the Rockies would be in a position to have to either pay down some of the salary or take a lesser return if they were to actually trade him. The former option, according to Rosenthal, would be the better one, as it would mean “They would be paying for prospects, and in that exchange probably could insist upon at least two good ones.”
The only real positive I can think of with these Arenado rumors and the specifics of his contract is that they’re unlikely to linger on for nearly five years like the Troy Tulowitzki trade rumors did. We’ll know this outcome sooner than that, but as long as the Rockies aren’t playing good baseball, Nolan Arenado trade speculation will continue to be a thing in your life.