The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly interested in trading for Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado again this winter, but what will they have to give up? Here is one possibility.
Dodgers acquire Nolan Arenado and $5 million
Rockies acquire Dustin May, Gavin Lux
Why do the Dodgers do it?
Third baseman Justin Turner is a free agent this offseason. While it seems like an obvious reunion will happen, Arenado is the better option and is in his prime as opposed to the 35-year-old Turner. The Dodgers’ third baseman’s performance is on the decline, as he hit just four home runs in a 60-game season and is projected to drive in only 42 runs in 2021. That is roughly 20 fewer runs batted in than he had through a full season in 2019.
The offensive production is down for Arenado, but Los Angeles would be getting a guy who just won his eighth straight Gold Glove award and they need right-handed power in their lineup. He is one of just three players (along with Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz) to hit more than 200 home runs in the past six seasons.
Here is a look at the potential Dodgers lineup if they acquired Arenado and did not bring back Turner:
RF Mookie Betts
SS Corey Seager
3B Nolan Arenado
1B Max Muncy
DH Will Smith (if there is a DH)
2B Chris Taylor
LF AJ Pollock
That is a powerful lineup and would certainly make the L.A. the favorites to come out of the National League yet again in 2021.
Giving up May could hurt them down the road as he seems to be trending in the right direction after his postseason performance. However, the club gets David Price back this coming season for his first real year in a Dodgers uniform. Price opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 precautions.
Lux was once considered the Dodgers’ top prospect (and a favorite to win the Rookie of the Year) but he has been blocked by Corey Seager, Kiké Hernández, and Chris Taylor in the infield. Trading Lux to the Rockies wouldn’t hurt the team unless they are not able to bring back Seager in free agency after the season. That said, there are also plenty of shortstop options on the market next winter including Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Javier Baez among others.
Why do the Rockies do it?
The Rockies do not figure to be in contention for the NL West in 2021 with the Dodgers and San Diego Padres well ahead of them in terms of building complete teams. Arenado has expressed his feelings to general manager Jeff Bridich, and understands that Colorado likely is not the spot where he has a chance to win the World Series.
Arenado’s offensive production has severely declined and his contract is looking worse by the year. Baseball Trade Values contends that he was only worth $7 million last season, yet he has a $35 million salary in 2021.
The four-time Silver Slugger Award winner has an opt-out clause after the 2021 season. It’s unlikely he opts-out due to the amount of money remaining on his deal and Colorado could only get a compensation pick if he were to leave in free agency.
If he does not opt-out, the club would be stuck with paying him $166 million, a hefty price considering other average third baseman such as J.D. Davis and Brian Anderson were more valuable to their respective teams last year. Trading Arenado would free up a lot of money that they can use on their best player, Trevor Story, who is a free agent after next season.
In this deal, Colorado gets back May who would slot in as their ace immediately and would finally give them an elite young arm in front of German Marquez. Lux has been blocked by great players in Los Angeles so we have not gotten to see if he can be an All-Star caliber player yet. If he plays as well as he did in the minors he would make a great double-play partner to Story.
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