A potential trade of star third baseman Nolan Arenado remains a legitimate possibility for the Rockies this winter, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports, though Saunders downplays the possibility of Arenado landing with the Dodgers or any other division rival in the NL West. Owner Dick Monfort is “extremely hesitant” to trade Arenado within the National League West, according to Saunders.
The remaining money on his contract limits the number of potential suitors, however, making it easy to project Arenado into the Justin-Turner-sized hole currently at third base for the Dodgers. Trading a face-of-the-franchise superstar like Arenado, however, rarely fits as glove-in-hand as it may seem on the surface. Still, the Rockies only have so many ways to cut payroll, if that’s their goal.
They are warming to the idea of moving Trevor Story, per the latest report from the Athletic’s Nick Groke and Eno Sarris. The Colorado front office has long put off the possibility of dealing their star shortstop. Beyond Arenado and Story, however, their two largest contracts on the 2020 payroll belong to Ian Desmond and Charlie Blackmon, both of whom would be difficult to move. Beyond that quartet, there simply aren’t many simple solutions to create more payroll flexibility while bringing back assets.
Story is facing his final season before free agency. For all his talent, however, it’s a complicated time to move a first-division All-Star shortstop like Story. The Indians were quick to put Francisco Lindor at the front of the line, while Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, and Ha-Seong Kim from the KBO are attractive alternatives on the free agent market.
On the other hand, taking the risk on one year of Story might be an easier pill to swallow for inquiring teams given the surfeit of peers on the same free-agency timeline. Corey Seager, Javier Báez, and Carlos Correa will join Story and Lindor as free agents after 2021 if none are extended.
Unfortunately, the Rockies have fewer and fewer researchers to help the front office make qualified, franchise-altering decisions, writes Groke and Sarris. They lost four of six researchers from their Research and Development team since the end of last season. Groke and Sarris provide a relatively grim picture of the Rockies’ current resources, but they are far from the only team in the league dealing with tightened belts and smaller staffs. The full article from The Athletic on the state of affairs in Colorado is well worth a read.