Nolan Arenado is the hottest name on the MLB trade market. What would his absence from the NL West mean for the San Francisco Giants?
On the surface, it would seem unlikely the Giants will be his ultimately landing spot.
Aside from the fact that the team is in the process of rebuilding an unlikely to part with the prospects it would take to get a deal done, the Rockies also reportedly prefer to ship him out of the NL West.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is impossible to get a deal done.
The last meaningful trade between the two teams was in 2012, when the Rockies shipped second baseman Marco Scutaro to the Giants in exchange for minor league infielder Charlie Culberson. That one worked out pretty well for the Giants.
Any deal involving Arenado would take a lot more than just one minor league infielder, though.
Even if the Giants are not the team that acquired him, simply getting him out of the division could have a significant impact on the team’s future success.
How can one player have so much of an effect you ask?
Over the course of his seven-year career, Arenado has hit .295/.357/.553 with 28 home runs and 100 RBI while facing the Giants, which is the most home runs and RBI he’s tallied against any opposing team.
With the Rockies no longer looking like a contender, it would make sense that the front office would be looking to bolster a farm system that checked in at No. 23 in the latest rankings from Bleacher Report.
Here’s a look at the money still owed to Arenado over the life of his current contract:
- 2020: $35 Million
- 2021: $35 Million
- 2022: $35 Million
- 2023: $35 Million
- 2024: $35 Million
- 2025: $32 Million
- 2026: $27 Million
That high AAV of $33.4 million will limit what the Rockies are able to get in return, even for a player of Arenado’s caliber.
The trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins to the New York Yankees prior to the 2018 season is a solid comparison. As a result of the significant money still owed to Stanton, the Marlins settled for a return of MLB infielder Starlin Castro and two prospects in Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers who were outside of leaguewide top 100 lists.
The Giants now have significant wiggle room below the luxury tax threshold and their financial flexibility will only improve going forward, which puts them in position to pursue high-profile free agents. They also have a farm system on the rise that should provide some in-house help to the roster in the near future.
Trading Arenado would signal a rebuild by the Rockies, and they would then be one less hurdle as the Giants climb back toward contention.