The Nolan Arenado trade conversation just took an interesting turn on Monday night.
For most of the offseason, it’s been speculated that the Colorado Rockies would trade superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado just one year after signing him to an eight-year contract extension. While there was never a direct link to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Crew clearly has a hole at third base that Arenado would fill quite nicely.
To sum up recent events, earlier on Monday, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich told reporters that Arenado was off the trade block and would start the season in Colorado. MLB.com’s Rockies reporter Thomas Harding reached out to Arenado, and Arenado told him he felt disrespected by the front office.
With Arenado going public with his comments and negative feelings towards the Rockies front office, it appears they’re going to have to put Arenado back on the trade block. That kind of attitude from their star player could sour the clubhouse attitude and tank their 2020 season before it even starts.
With the Rockies losing leverage in talks, could the Brewers try to swoop in late? Should they even try?
Going After Nolan Arenado
As far as on the field, playing baseball is concerned, Arenado would be the perfect addition. He’s won the Gold Glove award at third base every year of his career, he’s an offensive powerhouse, and has raked at Miller Park throughout his career, to the tune of a .397/.461/.838 slash line with eight home runs in 17 games.
There should be no qualms from the Brewers front office about Arenado playing third base in a Brewers uniform. Where they will have qualms though, is the payroll department. Arenado signed a massive eight-year, $260 million contract just last spring, and is due a $35 million salary each year through 2024. Then he gets $32 million in 2025 and $27 million in 2026.
If they couldn’t sign Yasmani Grandal or Mike Moustakas or any other premier free agent because of how it could negatively impact their payroll, then affording Arenado gets tough. If the Milwaukee Brewers want to be able to sign Christian Yelich to a long-term extension, tying up $35 million a year with Arenado would not help.
In all likelihood, Yelich will get around $35 million a year, and it’s extremely difficult to see the Brewers having $70 million of their payroll locked up in two players.
The good news is, the Rockies will likely pay down a decent amount of Arenado’s salary in order to get a deal done. They will want prospects in return for Arenado, not just simply salary relief.
What Could The Brewers Package Include?
Think about it, Hader is still relatively cheap, under control for several years, and a star player. The Brewers have been looking at trading him this winter and Colorado could be a good match. The Rockies signed a lot of veteran relievers the past few years and they all bombed in 2019. Colorado desperately needs an improved bullpen and Hader provides that.
There will need to be more included as well, likely the Crew’s top prospect Brice Turang will be a talked about piece along with a few others. How much the Brewers give up would depend on how much money the Rockies are willing to pay down on Arenado’s contract.
Another issue is the opt-out clause in Arenado’s contract that he can trigger after the 2021 season. The Brewers will not want to pay for seven years of Arenado and only get two years of them before he hits free agency. That will need to be worked out in order for him to come to Milwaukee.
Given Arenado’s salary, Colorado may need to pay down 50% of his contract for the Brewers to be able to bring him in.
To make matters worse, the St. Louis Cardinals are one team that’s known to be quite involved in talks for Arenado and will likely pursue him now that he is probably going to be back on the market. If the Cardinals get Arenado, the Brewers will face an even tougher task to get back on top of the NL Central.
This will be an interesting story to watch as we run up to spring training, and while the odds of him joining the Brewers is slim, where he ends up could have a large impact on the Crew.