The Cardinals could use an impact-level addition. They do have more than million invested in Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter over the next two-plus seasons, however, which could cause them pause. They also have Nolan Gorman climbing their organizational depth chart.
That leaves us with five teams who seem like legitimate suitors for Arenado. Let’s hit them one by one, in alphabetical order.
Mike Hazen has spent the past year rebuilding his farm system and clearing his payroll situation. Is he willing to cash in on both if it nets him Arenado? There’s no telling. Colorado may not want to see Arenado as often as they would if he landed in the same division.
On the wrong side of a rebuild
How much is left on that contract, again?
Sorry, we’re taken
Same for the Dodgers, who have been on the lookout for another elite player all winter. Arenado would fit the bill. The Dodgers were interested in Rendon, so they’re not above adding another infielder.
Well, you see …
Some teams already have good third-base situations and don’t have an apparent spot or need for Arenado. If you try hard enough, you can come up with some intriguing scenarios — for instance, the Astros trading Carlos Correa, sliding Alex Bregman to short, and then adding Arenado; or the Padres moving Manny Machado or Arenado to either first or second base. We think those are fun to daydream about, but aren’t realistic enough to consider them plausible.
The five real suitors
5. Texas Rangers For our purposes, Arenado is the player of interest. Although he agreed to a seven-year, 0 million extension last offseason in order to avoid the open market this winter, the Colorado Rockies are . Arenado is still owed 4 million, but someone should be game for taking on that contract given how productive he’s been throughout his career. (For reference, Arenado has a 131 OPS+ and 18.4 WAR since 2017.)
For as fun as it would be to see the Rays or Brewers fill their third-base vacancy by swinging a deal for Arenado, it doesn’t seem realistic. Rather, these tend to be the teams who run away from a big contract. The Blue Jays shouldn’t be in this group, of course, but we’re going to remain skeptical until they prove they’re willing to spend dough under Mark Shapiro’s guidance.
There’s an industry belief that the Phillies would be willing to move Alec Bohm in the right move. If it means landing someone like Arenado, well, that’s probably the right move. Whether the Phillies would be willing to take on another large contract is anyone’s guess.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
Anthony Rendon might have signed with the Los Angeles Angels, but a number of compelling candidates remain available for teams looking to make a splash at the hot corner. There’s Josh Donaldson, who would cost only money; there’s Kris Bryant, once his grievance over service-time manipulation is cleared up; and then there’s Nolan Arenado.
We are nothing if not messy, so below you’ll find our guide to the Arenado trade market. Do remember that this is for entertainment purposes, and that these situations tend to be fluid.
None of these teams are good, or seem particularly compelled to take on a 4-million contract. You might think Jerry Dipoto would be game — he loves to trade, has an ascending farm system, and has cleared most of Seattle’s long-term financial obligations — but he already has a third baseman under contract, in Kyle Seager, and he’s trying to move him.
These are the teams who should have interest, but who are limited in some aspect or another. With the Mets, White Sox, and Twins, it’s financial in nature. The Braves would probably rather not acquire a massive long-term contract, either, as they didn’t seem to get seriously involved in the Rendon bidding. Then there are the Nationals, who passed on re-signing Rendon for similar terms and who lack the prospect means to make a big trade. With less than a week to go until Christmas, time is running out on the opportunity to get away with using threadbare metaphors, similes, and constructs related to the holiday. As such, let’s take advantage of the occasion by noting that a number of teams would love to wake up on Christmas morning and find a new star third baseman underneath their proverbial tree.
The most obvious landing spot for Arenado, the Rangers have the need and the means. They could also then trot out Arenado and Corey Kluber to sell more seats at their new ballpark.