It sure seems like absolutely nothing of considerable substance is going to happen with the Cubs’ offseason until the Kris Bryant service time grievance is resolved, and/or until Josh Donaldson signs as a free agent, and/or the Cubs are able to put together some other significant trade.
Which means rumors like this wind up rocketing loudly into our orbit:
Sources: #Braves have inquired to #Rockies on a Nolan Arenado trade, although discussions between the teams have not been active recently. Atlanta is said to be wary of the salary commitment but has the sort of prospect group Colorado wants in any Arenado deal. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 27, 2019
At last check, the Rockies were reportedly actually considering Nolan Arenado trade talks, though all are reminded that he’s currently owed $234 million over the next seven years, and has a no-trade clause, and has an opt-out after just two years. You take on that contract, and you are giving up most of the potential upside and absorbing all of the downside. Oh, and you have to give the Rockies enough in trade that it makes sense for them to trade the face of their organization, whom they just signed to that monster contract.
Soooooo, I’m not saying this is utter BS, but I do think it is awfully convenient for the Braves for this to come out now (despite the talks having been at some point in the past), when by all external appearances, the Braves’ two other third base options are holding their feet to the fire.
A rumor out of Atlanta this week had the Cubs making a fairly significant (but, sorry Braves fans, plausible) prospect ask if they were going to give up Kris Bryant in trade. Perhaps the Braves would like to push back against that.
Departing free agent Josh Donaldson is likely giving the Braves a shot to match other offers he’s seeing out there. The sense we get is other clubs are willing to go to four years, but the Braves are holding the line at four years. Perhaps the Braves would like to push back against that, too.
In either case – or both – it is a useful message to try to send to the top of the third base market that there is an alternative out there, however implausible it is that the Braves are going to give up a ton of value to get Arenado on his current contract (shy of the Rockies eating a lot of salary AND Arenado being persuaded to waive his no-trade AND Arenado being bought out of his opt-out). For all we know, the Braves secretly adore Arenado, and the Rockies sometimes do crazy things. But also, for all we know, the Braves just want to try to preserve some leverage in a situation where they otherwise have only two very pricey options, and everyone knows how badly they want one of them.
That second one seems a lot more likely here.