MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, More

Martin FennFeatured Columnist INovember 23, 2020

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, More

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Nolan Arenado's future is likely to be the topic of discussion in Colorado as the Rockies navigate a challenging offseason.

    The 29-year-old has become the face of the franchise over the course of eight years. Arenado has routinely dazzled with his glove and pure hitting ability, making five straight National League All-Star teams between 2015 and 2019.

    But the Rockies have made just two playoff appearances since Arenado's debut in 2013, and the Newport Beach native is none too pleased with the lack of team success.

    Arenado signed a huge extension prior to the 2019 season. However, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported this past January the star third baseman was displeased with Colorado's offseason inactivity and apparent failure to bolster the roster. 

    Might the Rockies shop Arenado after they put together yet another disappointing season? Here are the latest rumors regarding potential suitors, as well as a pair of other slugging stars who could be on the trade block.

Dodgers Might Deal for Arenado

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Arenado is engulfed by speculation because of the fact he can opt out of his contract after the 2021 campaign, per Spotrac.

    Given Arenado's past expressions of frustration, the Rockies would almost certainly prefer to deal him and get value back rather than merely watching him walk in free agency.

    However, any interested team would have to take on Arenado's contract in addition to the hope he would opt in after next year. With those factors in mind, which teams are likely to enter into discussions with the Rockies? Well, how about the defending World Series champions?

    Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the Los Angeles Dodgers have interest in acquiring Arenado and bringing him back to California. Morosi added L.A. has been rumored to be interested in Arenado for some time and, with Justin Turner headed for free agency, now could be the time to get aggressive. 

    While the eight-time Gold Glover is coming off an underwhelming season (.738 OPS), Arenado had previously hit at least 37 homers and driven in 110 or more runs in each year since 2015. He had also dealt with pain in his left shoulder for the majority of the season and could be line for a bounce-back campaign after an offseason of rehab and strengthening. 

    It remains to be seen just how much the Dodgers would be willing to give up in order to acquire Arenado. However, prospects like catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-hander Josiah Gray could pique Colorado's interest, given the Rockies' needs behind the plate and on the mound.

    The Dodgers were a juggernaut this past season, but core players like Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw and others will be free agents after 2021. L.A. might do just as well to acquire another bona fide star in Arenado to enhance the idea of sustained success.

Nats to Explore Move for Bryant

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Washington Nationals are another team looking for an upgrade at the hot corner, though for different reasons than the Dodgers.

    Washington essentially made a decision it could only sign one of its two major free agents last winter. The Nats pounced on re-signing Stephen Strasburg, ultimately leading to third baseman Anthony Rendon signing with the Los Angeles Angels. 

    At the time, it made sense for Mike Rizzo to preserve his starting rotation and bring back the World Series MVP. Nevertheless, Washington's offensive struggles throughout the 2020 campaign made it clear just how much the Nats missed Rendon.

    Washington ranked 26th in terms of positional fWAR at third base, per FanGraphs. Young prospect Carter Kieboom struggled, and Starlin Castro played just 16 games before being sidelined because of injury.

    As a result, the Nats will explore other options this offseason. Morosi reported Washington has interest in trading for Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who will be a free agent after the 2021 campaign.

    Bryant is one of multiple Cubs players who could be moved this offseason as the franchise shifts from the Theo Epstein era to a baseball operations department run by general manager Jed Hoyer.

    The 28-year-old was one of the best players in baseball between 2015 and 2019. Bryant ranked third in fWAR during that span, per FanGraphs, winning the NL MVP Award in 2016 and helping the Cubs end a 108-year drought that same season. He also clubbed 31 homers in 2019, the second-highest mark of his career.

    However, Bryant is coming off a woeful 2020 in which he had just four homers and a .644 OPS. The former No. 2 overall pick also dealt with injuries, and durability has been a growing concern in the last three years.

    The Nats and Cubs reportedly had numerous talks involving Bryant last year, though they were never able to reach an agreement.

    Perhaps Chicago can hope for better luck in terms of its asking price, though the Cubs might not have much to bargain with given Bryant's impending free agency and projected salary in his final year of arbitration.

Will Yankees Trade Voit?

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Whereas Bryant and Arenado are coming off lackluster seasons, New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit put together the best year of his career.

    The 29-year-old led the majors with 22 homers and posted a .948 OPS, giving the Bronx Bombers steady production in another injury-riddled season.

    But, is it possible the Yankees will look to trade Voit this offseason?

    Buster Olney of ESPN reported there has been plenty of chatter regarding Voit's potential availability, though he added Voit might not have a ton of value on the open market given sluggers such as Marcell Ozuna and Nelson Cruz will be available in free agency. 

    Voit has done nothing but rake since coming to New York from St. Louis ahead of the 2018 trade deadline. He clubbed 14 homers and had a 1.095 OPS in his first 39 games with the team. The Missouri native then had an .842 OPS in 2019 before elevating his play to another level this past year.

    Trading Voit would be a rather curious decision, mostly because nobody on the current roster appears capable of replacing him at first base. Mike Ford had a .496 OPS this past season. DJ LeMahieu could play first, but he is a free agent and will command a hefty salary.

    There is also the fact Voit will not be a free agent until 2025. While this could give him value, it also makes him an asset the Yankees can choose to move in the near future, rather than immediately.

    Perhaps New York feels trading Voit could net prospects to bolster a fairly mediocre farm system. But moving the big first baseman would weaken the team's depth and seemingly make the Yankees worse in 2021.

       

    All stats obtained via Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.