Some things we know are true, based on the consistency of the reports, reasonable deployment of logic, and a lack of activity/comments from the Cubs or Rockies that would refute these three things:
- The Cubs are still having conversations about possible trades.
- The Cubs are willing to move Kris Bryant in a trade that helps the organization more in the long-term than it harms them in the short-term.
- The Rockies are willing to move Nolan Arenado in a trade that allows them to unload his contract while saving face.
- Previous conversations took place between the Cubs and Rockies about swapping Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado.
Those are just 99.9% facts at this point. We know them to be true. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can connect those four dots and draw a CERTAIN fifth conclusion, that some of the ongoing conversations in point one are between the Rockies and Cubs about Bryant and Arenado. I think fans who want to believe that’s true are not being irrational, however.
And, since I don’t believe that’s irrational, I am quite a bit more open to this report from Dave Kaplan on ESPN1000. After teasing that the Cubs have called the Rockies about Arenado, Kaplan passed on what he heard out of Colorado:
“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%.'”
Let me say up front that this already caught my ear more than most reports on this front because it was the first time we had heard such a direct, serious connection between the Cubs and Rockies coming out of Colorado, where the perspective might be very different (maybe more chatty? wishful thinking?) than in the Chicago front office.
The deal, as Kaplan said, would involve swapping Arenado (and cash) and Bryant (and a prospect). A swap involving these two is not a new rumor, mind you – Jeff Passan has reported it, Jesse Rogers has reported it, Jon Morosi has reported it, Patrick Mooney has reported it – but to hear out of Colorado that the discussions with the Cubs are real? As in, presently real? That’s a bit of an eye-popper.
But it also just makes flat-out logical, rational sense.
A huge part of the reason you continue to dream on a swap like this is because if it’s true that the Rockies absolutely feel like they have to move Arenado, and if he holds all the cards with his no-trade clause, then he can engineer a trade that really sucks for the Rockies … and leaves the trade partner with Arenado on an incredible contract. Why in the world *wouldn’t* the Cubs be all over this? Especially right now, when it might be the best opportunity to actually pull this off (as opposed to mid-season, when so many things could have changed to make the situation entirely different on both sides)?
Now consider just how fractured the situation in Colorado might be. The GM can’t even answer a question with a pleasant, “we love this guy and we’re happy he’s here right now” platitude:
#Rockies GM Jeff Bridich asked to comment on the Nolan Arenado situation. What would he like to say?
"Nothing. There is no comment. I haven't had any comment to this point, so we'll move past that. Next question."
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) February 11, 2020
And consider that Arenado is definitely making a statement right now:
The stare down between Nolan Arenado and the #Rockies continues. Arenado usually hits/works out at the team complex as report date nears. But he is in Az, but hitting at Arizona State. It is a silent statement. Plans to report on time with position players Sunday.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 13, 2020
If something were going to happen for the Rockies, I’m sure they would greatly prefer it happened before position players report this weekend. Ditto for the Cubs and Kris Bryant.
For now, I fall back on only the things we know for sure, listed up above. But, yes, the Cubs and Rockies still trying to figure out a very complicated swap? That would be consistent with those four things up above, and it would make a lot of sense for both teams if they could actually make the rest of the deal (the money, the prospect(s), Arenado’s opt-out after two years, etc.) work.