"I was on the phone with somebody in Colorado last night who covers the Rockies, and he said to me, 'Hey dude, let me just tell you, these discussions are real. Nolan Arenado … absolutely wants out of the Colorado Rockies organization, and he's made it clear to ownership. I don't want to be here. Get me outta here.' He said, 'I'm telling you, the Cubs are absolutely motivated to try to get him. Absolutely, 100 percent.'"
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, however, later reported that the Cubs may be creating "media noise" in an effort to create a better deal with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies or Washington Nationals.
While Arenado is a franchise cornerstone in terms of talent, there is tension between the third baseman and the Rockies.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post called it a "staredown" between the two sides and suggested Arenado's decision to work out at Arizona State instead of the team facility is a "silent statement."
This is not the first time the Cubs have been seen as a potential landing spot. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Jan. 7 that Chicago and the St. Louis Cardinals "intrigued" the Rockies as possible trade partners.
On Jan. 29, ESPN's Jesse Rogers appeared on Kaplan's Kap and Co. radio show (h/t Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports Chicago) and said the Cubs and Rockies discussed a trade involving Arenado and Kris Bryant with Colorado apparently willing to pick up some of the former's salary.
"That's how much they need to get rid of Arenado and he wants out," Rogers said.
Kaplan also said Bryant would likely be involved in such a trade, which is notable for a Chicago team that has not made any major moves this offseason and could look to get under the luxury-tax threshold to avoid any future penalties.
Landing Arenado, who could remain on the team much longer than Bryant if he exercises his player option, would be quite the consolation prize for the Cubs if they lose the 2016 National League MVP.
The Rockies third baseman is just 28 years old and a five-time All-Star, seven-time Gold Glover and four-time Silver Slugger who slashed .315/.379/.583 with 41 home runs and 118 RBI during the 2019 campaign.