ROCKIES

Nolan Arenado to the Los Angeles Dodgers? It could happen

Jul 27, 2023, 11:27 AM

For a long time, Colorado Rockies fans’ worst nightmare was that star third baseman Nolan Arenado would leave the Mile High City for his native Southern California and play for the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Thanks to a long-term contract extension with Colorado, Rockies fans’ fears were avoided. But now on that very contract that kept Arenado from free agency and was supposed to keep him in Denver long-term, the Dodgers could be the teams paying him.

Arenado was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with $50 million ahead of the 2021 season and in Missouri he’s had a productive three years. This 2023 campaign has been a bit subpar but he was just third in National League MVP voting last fall for his great 2022 season where he co-powered the Cards with MVP Paul Goldschmidt to a first-place finish atop the central. It was the third-straight year Arenado pushed his team into the playoffs and in all of those trips, they were only able to nab one win.

Like the Cardinals, Arenado has struggled come October, with his career OPS of .879, falling all the way down to .385 in his eight big-time games.

But the Cardinals will not have to deal with that issue since they won’t be going to the playoffs this year. With a 46-57 record they’re fourth in the central and 11 games back. Fangraphs once projected the team a 71% chance to make the postseason this year, that’s now down to 6% which is why people believe the team could be sellers ahead of the trade deadline at month’s end.

Even though Arenado’s contract runs through 2028, at 32, he’s still one of the Cards key assets and that’s why he might be their best chip to play. That’s where the Dodgers come in, who “have long been enamored” with the third baseman, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.

Arenado, long the best defensive third baseman in the game and a winner of 10-straight Gold Gloves—one for each of his big league seasons, has taken a step back on defense but his bat remains strong.

And for the Dodgers, who are in first place in the NL West with a 58-43 record, it makes sense to go after a star hometown kid. In fact, they’ve already made two trades and another to bolster their team in a three-way race with the Giants and D-Backs atop the West might be needed. The Dodgers have won the West in 10 of the last 11 seasons with six trips to the NLCS or further. Their team is still star-studded but a little less deep than previous versions and it is aging, striking for Arenado may be a great move.

Meanwhile, the Rockies are at the bottom of the division and could lose 100 games for the first time in franchise history. And the best part of the Arenado trade haul has been Austin Gomber so far, who has a 5.69 ERA over the past two seasons which is third-worst in MLB among throwers with more than 150 innings pitched.

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