Nolan Arenado seems more likely than ever to leave Colorado after falling out with the Rockies. The implications for the Chicago Cubs in this scenario, however, are far from rosy.
The third base market has been particularly interesting to cover this offseason with high profile free agents and trade targets being at the forefront hot stove discussion. Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant has been bandied about for a while now, but it’s instead been Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado that has seen some new developments.
It’s been rumored for a while now that Arenado could be on the move from Colorado, but nothing has come close to fruition. Couple that with GM Jeff Bridich’s statement regarding Arenado staying in a Rockies uniform and it really seemed like everything had died down.
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However, the whole situation has soured the relationship between Arenado and the Rockies organization. The superstar slugger expressed his ire for Bridich for the lack of offseason activity from the team and for the “disrespect” Arenado felt from him. This has once again led to rumors that Arenado’s time in Colorado may come to an end.
For the Cubs, this is more than likely a bad thing. Perhaps the team with the best chance at landing Arenado at the moment is the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Thus far, they are the only team to have exchanged names with Colorado and have expressed interest for a while now.
The Cardinals adding Arenado at this point would be a gut punch, considering his price has likely dropped alongside his standing in the Rockies organization. He generally mashes against the Cubs, holding a career slash line at .299/.353/.581 against the team in 44 games thus far. Oh, and he’s a perennial Gold Glove and MVP candidate, winning the former in every year he’s been in the majors thus far.
St. Louis has a strong prospect pool and landing Arenado on the cheap will likely mean giving up less of those prospects and or taking on less money by moving big league contracts. The only issue is that moving contracts like that of Matt Carpenter or former Cub Dexter Fowler is unlikely due to each containing full no-trade clauses.
The Cubs are also rumored to have interest in Arenado, but as we’ve discussed before, these rumors have ranged from improbable to downright outrageous, even at a lower cost. The best bet then would be to hope that, if he is indeed back on the market, another team puts together a strong package for him, right?
Even if that happens, it would take away a potential trade partner for Bryant, limiting the remaining teams in need of a third baseman. In all reality, it’s likely best that Arenado stays in Colorado to both give the team the widest range of options for deals while keeping one of the game’s best players out of the division.
It still lies on the Rockies and Arenado to decide if reconciliation is too far gone at this point, but currently signs indicate the damage is done. The Chicago Cubs are more than likely to suffer if he leaves. It’s just a matter of whether he foils their trade plans or tortures them for the next several years.