As the offseason moves into the free agency doldrums of the New Year, there are still plenty of rumors surrounding Nolan Arenado and the Dodgers.
Over the last couple of months, especially after Anthony Rendon signed with the LA Angels of Anaheim, the reported market for Arenado has soared. There are plenty of playoff teams and even fringe Wild Card teams looking for a right-handed bat that is not as one dimensional as Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna, who both pale in comparison to Arenado defensively and even at the plate.
On the morning of Thursday, Jan. 2, multiple MLB insiders began discussing the possibility of the Rockies trading Arenado, their homegrown superstar. Here’s how MLB.com’s John Paul Morosi broke things down via Twitter.
There are two ways to read this. The optimistic way is to look at the 50/50 chance and take it as just that. If it really were a coin toss, then there would be plenty of reason to celebrate for Dodgers fans. That is until you read the second half of the tweet, which mentions how Colorado does not want to keep Arenado in the NL West division.
Based on this news, I would already begin to consider Arenado unattainable for the 2020 season. The prospect package would already have to be great to acquire Arenado, and to break the Rockies’ will and force them to trade him within the NL West to LA would mean an even larger package.
Additionally, a later tweet from Morosi mentions that Colorado’s front office wants a Victor Robles or Luis Robert type, ie. a power-speed centerfielder.
The Dodgers simply cannot offer a player like that, especially not one that is as far along as Robles and Robert on the prospect curve. Gavin Lux, the likely centerpiece of any deal for Arenado, already has moved from shortstop to second base to accommodate the Dodgers, and any attempts to market him as a centerfielder that could match up with Robles or Robert defensively would certainly be met with a fair degree of scrutiny.
That is of course unless Alex Verdugo is made available.
More from Dodgers Way
- Dodgers should use Tyler Anderson’s money on pitching star, not filler
- 3 cheaper pitchers Dodgers should sign over Justin Verlander
- Dodgers to reportedly non-tender Cody Bellinger, could pave way for Aaron Judge
- Justin Turner reveals why Dodgers declined his 2023 team option
- 3 destinations for Cody Bellinger if Dodgers non-tender him
Verdugo compares quite nicely with Robles based on their 2019 numbers. Robles is certainly faster (with 28 steals to Verdugo’s four) and Fangraphs rates his defense as being better than Verdugo’s as well. But when you break down the offensive numbers, an argument could be made that Verdugo is actually the more promising hitter.
In 2019, Robles, in his age 22 season, hit .255/.326/.419 with 17 home runs in 155 games. He walked 5.7% of the time while striking out 22.7% of the time. Verdugo, in his age 23 season, hit 12 home runs with a .294/.342/.475 triple-slash in just 106 games. His walk rate is similar to Robles’ (6.9% for Verdugo), but his strikeout rate is far lower (13%).
Verdugo wins the hitting battle and Robles wins the speed and fielding battles. Robles also, based mostly on his speed and defense, seems to be the more ‘dynamic’ player that Morosi reported the Rockies to be looking for.
Based on all of this, even if Verdugo was included in any Dodgers deal for Arenado, the two sides really are not the best match, especially because they are playing in the same division.
The Dodgers should save their punches and patiently wait for Arenado’s 2021 opt-out decision, which means beginning to clear future payroll and by allowing prospects to fill in some of the MLB roster gaps the team is facing in 2020. While the young group of pitchers should be able to hold down the fort, the team could still look to add a veteran righty bat to replace David Freese until Arenado’s decision.