Dodgers are the perfect trade fit for Nolan Arenado

The Rockies may end up having to trade Nolan Arenado and even if they don’t want to trade him to LA, the Dodgers are the perfect trade fit.

The Dodgers were looking to be aggressive this off-season but after being unable to lure Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon to Los Angeles, it has been a quiet off-season for the blue.  With Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor trade rumors all but dead, there is one big star who may still end up being dealt; Nolan Arenado.

On Monday, Rockies’ General Manager Jeff Bridich said that trade talks were off involving Arenado but then Arenado responded by saying he feels disrespected by people in the Rockies’ organization.  Whether GM Jeff Bridich re-opens trade talks involving Nolan Arenado remains to be seen but Nolan controls his own destiny thanks to a full no-trade clause and an opt-out clause after the 2021 season.

While it could be a PR nightmare for the Rockies to trade the face of their franchise to a division rival, there are several reasons why the Rockies should bite the bullet and trade Arenado to Los Angeles.  Whether the Rockies would be looking for salary relief or building blocks for the future, the Dodgers are able to provide both.

If the Rockies are willing to acquire less talent in order to dump the $32.5 million a year (luxury tax payroll) through 2026 the Dodgers could provide relief for all of Arenado’s contract.  The Dodgers have roughly $30 million in “cap space” remaining for the 2020 season and more money will come off the books over the next two off-seasons with Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Joe Kelly all coming off the books.

Should the Rockies be willing to eat money to acquire top prospects for Nolan Arenado, the Dodgers would still be a good fit for the Rockies.  If Colorado is willing to eat a good portion of his contract, the Dodgers have a plethora of top prospects including Keibert Ruiz, Dustin May, Josiah Gray, and Jeter Downs among others.  It is unlikely that LA would part with Gavin Lux, even for Nolan Arenado.

The Rockies do not have to trade Nolan Arenado prior to the start of the season but with an opt-out clause, Nolan Arenado could essentially force the Rockies to deal him or lose him for nothing after the 2021 season.  That would be a worst-case scenario for the Rockies and the threat of an opt-out could leave the Rockies no choice but to part with one of their best players in franchise history.

For the Dodgers, Nolan Arenado would not only be a big boost but he would fit a need for the Dodgers.  Justin Turner’s defense has declined at third base which prompted the Dodgers to consider Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson in free agency.  With JT in the last year of his contract, Arenado would give the Dodgers a third baseman for nearly the rest of the decade.

With Nolan Arenado in the driver’s seat for his next destination, the Dodgers are most likely at the top of his wish list.  Arenado is a native of Lake Forest, and the Angels are out of the picture after signing Anthony Rendon.  The Dodgers are the closest team to his home that could actually use a third baseman.  The last thing the Rockies will want to do is deal Arenado to the Dodgers, but the Rockies have little control in where Arenado ends up next.

This is one of the few times in MLB where a player has complete control in where he goes next.  If Nolan wants to “Anthony Davis” his way to Los Angeles, he certainly can.  Arenado could use his no-trade clause if the Rockies try trading him to a team he doesn’t want to go to.  While it’s highly unlikely the Rockies trade their star to LA, if Arenado ultimately wants to be a Dodger it is a matter of when not if thanks to his opt-out clause.

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Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies appear to be in the midst of a rocky relationship.  If the two sides agree that a trade is best for both sides, it is ultimately up to Nolan Arenado where he suits up to play his games next.  The Dodgers may not be the ideal trade partner for the Rockies, but whether Colorado wants to clear salary or acquire top prospects for a rebuild, the Dodgers are the perfect trade fit for Nolan Arenado.