Chicago Cubs: Is the team holding back to make run at Nolan Arenado?

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

If the Chicago Cubs truly don’t have the ability to spend big this offseason, could they instead pivot to next year’s free agent class instead?

A lot of Chicago Cubs fans will consider this winter a complete and utter failure unless Theo Epstein and the front office find a way to ‘get creative’ and land some big-name free agents. But, should that come to fruition and the team fails to make notable offensive upgrades this offseason, don’t lose hope.

If the Cubs stand pat, might the Cubs might try to make a run at Nolan Arenado next offseason when the Colorado Rockies slugger hits the open market? Does this make sense for Epstein’s ballclub?

It’s no secret that Arenado is an elite player. Defensively, he is one of the best third basemen ever. He doesn’t strike out much and has put up four straight seasons of 35 or more home runs. The numbers look gaudy, but not as gaudy when his OPS is 200 points higher at home and a majority of his power predictably comes at Coors Field.

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The defensive aspect is interesting to look at. One of the more interesting arguments in the game compares the glovework of Arenado and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. Pair Arenado with Javier Baez at short and not much is getting through the left side of the infield.

How would the roster look?

Where does Bryant go? The typical “it’s Maddon, he will find a way” answer may not be applicable if the Cubs skipper is not back for 2020, and who knows about that at this point. Should the Cubs miss out on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, it makes sense to move Bryant to a corner outfield spot while shifting Jason Heyward to center field and trading Ian Happ. The Cubs are still pretty high on Albert Almora, so his days aren’t numbered quite yet.

Arenado has won six Gold Gloves in a row, and he’s been in the league for six years. Is that efficient or what? Don’t forget the two-straight Platinum Gloves thrown in there, as well.

Guess what – you’d have to get ‘creative’ here

Spotrac has Arenado’s projected value right now at eight years, for $240 million. That’s about $30 million a year. There is a possibility that the Cubs would have to do some maneuvering of the roster to make this work, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility given they do have some cash coming off the books next winter.

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The recipient of four consecutive Silver Slugger awards, Nolan Arenado is racking up the honors and he is still just 27. He will command a king’s ransom, which is warranted. But, if the Cubs “can’t afford” Harper or Machado as is the rumor, how will they be able to afford somebody who will costs nearly the same amount?