Dodgers: Analyzing a Potential Move for Rockies Star Nolan Arenado

There is perhaps no player more closely connected to the Dodgers in recent seasons than Nolan Arenado. Whether it’s because of his Southern California roots (Newport Beach) or his tremendous talent, people have long predicted that the prolific third baseman would end up in Dodger blue at some point.

These rumors have started to heat up once again, as many around baseball predict that the Rockies will shop the third baseman after another disappointing season for the Colorado franchise.

In the end, two questions need to be answered: Could the Dodgers afford Arenado? And if they can, should they actually trade for him?

Let’s take a deeper look at both to see if the Dodgers should pull the trigger.

Can the Dodgers Afford Arenado?

Let’s start with the basics. Nolan Arenado signed a long-term extension with Colorado prior to the 2020 season that will pay him $260 million through 2026. The salary hit is roughly $32.5 million per year, but it will be higher in the first few years than the last.

If we’re strictly talking prospects and financials, the Dodgers have what it takes to get a deal done. Not only do they have plenty of salary room to work with going forward, but their farm system is still one of the best in baseball.

In all likelihood, any trade for Arenado would cost some serious prospect capital. To put it another way, you would probably be saying goodbye to at least two of Gavin Lux, Keibert Ruiz, Josiah Gray, Mitchell White, or Kody Hoese on top of some additional lower level players. That is the price for an 8-time Gold Glover who would instantly elevate both sides of the ball for any team he plays for. But to answer just this specific question, yes the Dodgers could hypothetically afford a trade for Arenado.

Should the Dodgers Make the Move?

This question is a little harder to answer than the first. Could the Dodgers afford to make a move for Arenado? The short answer is yes, they can. But to answer the question of should they, it gets a little cloudier.

Obviously, adding a player of Arenado’s caliber would make the Dodgers lineup even better than it already is. He would fit right in at the vacancy left behind by Justin Turner should he choose to leave in free agency and fills a need that president Andrew Friedman identified as an area of focus for the offseason.

1. The price is still too high

The biggest issue with any trade for Arenado is justifying the price that LA would have to pay. While they can definitely afford him, the toll that it would take on their farm system is hard to justify when the team is already in a great position without him. Additionally, Arenado has a contract opt-out after the 2021 season that should give any team looking to acquire him some pause when sending the farm to Colorado. 

2. The Dodgers already have options at third

Part of the reason that the Dodgers should feel comfortable without a trade is that they already have some great in-house options available. Edwin Rios showed this season that he is more than deserving of an extended look at third base. Prospect Kody Hoese looks like he’s only one or two years away from being ready to take on the position in the majors as well. And last but not least, Justin Turner is still very much a priority signing for this ballclub for his contributions on the field and in the clubhouse.

3. It would mean saying goodbye to a beloved Dodger

Additionally, taking on Arenado’s contract would almost certainly mean saying goodbye to one of Seager, Bellinger, or Buehler in free agency. As much money as the Dodgers have, there is no feasible way that the front office can justify paying so many players the money that they will demand on the open market.

Put those three factors together, and it becomes increasingly hard to see the Dodgers making any move for the All-Star third baseman, regardless of how talented he is.

Final Thoughts

The title drought in Los Angeles is finally over, but that doesn’t mean they’re done chasing rings. A player like Nolan Arenado would definitely help in that chase, but it’s hard to see any move for him from the Dodgers.

Rather than gutting the farm system for a player already over 30, the Dodgers can continue the path that has brought them sustained success and invest in their homegrown players going forward.

The future for this team is just as bright as its present, and it will take smart decisions from Andrew Friedman and company to keep this contention window open as long as possible.

NEXT: Andrew Friedman Lists Out His 2 Priorities This Offseason

Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!


    1. Agreed. Bellinger has something to prove in 2021. But I just don’t see as many free agent fits for the Dodgers anywhere since they got Betts. Betts filled alot of needs for the Dodgers. And I still like JT at 3B for a few more years. Rios can back him up. Lux needs to prove himself or this will be his last year for the Dodgers. As much as I like Arenado, LeMahieu, Bauer, and several others, I just don’t see a current need on this talented and deep Dodger team that posted a historic 717 winning percentage in 2020 to go along with a world championship. LeMahieu is the best everyday FA out there. Bauer is the best FA pitcher out there. They’re both great. But the need just isn’t there. The Giants won 3 championships in 5 years with teams nowhere near the talent level of this Dodger team. I think the Dodgers should play this hand in 2021 and open the wallets for their own guys when the time comes.

      1. Unless the Dodgers can do shorter term deal say 2-3 for DJL or 3-4 for Baur, then thats a bargain.

  1. Anybody advocating signing Arenado for the Dodgers needs to look at his career Home/Away and Dodger Stadium batting numbers. Big dropoffs for each; .985 OPS @ COL, .785 @ LAD.

  2. Forget Anenado, get LaMehieu and/or Bauer if the price is not exorbitant. Extend Seager, Bellinger and Buehler. Then sit back and watch the WS championships roll in.

    1. I completely agree with JM. I don’t see where we need to sign anybody. What a great team we have. Were having trouble getting playing time for our young prospects as it is. Signing big money free agents will only make that part worse. If were not going to give them a chance to play, then we might as well go the trade them route. I personally love this team the way it is. If I had to pick 1 FA to go get, it would be Bauer. All he wants is a 1 year deal anyway.

  3. So we want Nolan, Trevor and Francisco. What do you do with Turner, Seager, and Urias? Who just brought Los Angeles a World Series Championship after 32 frustrating years! What is wrong with seeing how each of the free agents do between now and the opening of Spring Training? What would these new players bring to the chemistry of a Dodgers team who has been greatly successful over the past few years?

  4. Well we’re going to get these articles all winter long about how the Dodgers can make some vastly overpaid player work in trade by giving away top prospects and taking on bad contracts. Why do you think the Rockies would trade Arenado if not to unload a bad contract?
    What we should be talking about is how the Dodgers are going to keep Seager, Bellinger, and Urias when all three are represented by Scott Boras. Is there a way to extend any of them at a reasonable rate – if you can put reasonable and Boras in same sentence – or will they have to let some of them walk?

  5. Nice try for an article topic, but a waste of time, because the answer is an obvious no.

  6. If the cost isn’t so extensive, Bauer would cost $ but not prospects and he wants a short term deal to begin with LeMahieu would cost $, but not prospects. In any event, extending Seager, Bellinger, Urias, and Buehler are all obvious priorities however.

    1. Paul, my only worry about Bauer is that he is a head case. Talented, yes; but a head case nonetheless. Who needs it in the clubhouse? On a totally different tangent, its nice being called a “champion” after 32 years. Now lets hope Tommy Lasorda hangs in there and enjoys this title with the rest of us.
      Go Blue!!!

  7. As I wrote to Freidman, why keep ARBing players until they’re 30 and THEN give them an 8 year deal? The last half of those contracts are wasted money!

    Extend Seager, Bellinger, Urias, and Buehler NOW so that their contracts expire at age 32 or 33. Then you go go 1-year or 2-year deals.

    As for the “budget”, They have three young OF’s that can contribute this year, so Pollock is expendable. Kelly, Jansen, and even Kershaw are in their last year of guaranteed money. Kershaw would likely come back for two more years at less than current pay.

    But what about Price’s contract? How about a new deal with a $6 million signing bonus for this year, and $6.5 million per year for the next 10 years? Frees up $28 million for the next two years to make said extensions. He still gets the full contract money, but spread out for the first eight years of his retirement, while freeing up money NOW for the needed extensions.

    If they let Seager go to free agency, don’t be surprised if he signs with Seattle to play with his brothers, and we again experience the frustration of the Dodgers front office a la Adrian Beltre…!!!

    1. They have agents who are obviously going to inform them of how bad of an idea it is for them to sign extensions before their 6 years are up. It’s great for the team but for the player they are making less and will have to hit free agency on their down years therefore never getting their big contract

  8. Great article with good thoughts on pro and con. I agree with most of the comments here.
    Unwashed Brain makes a great point Arenado’s home and away splits are not encouraging. He is a great defensive player but just average offensively away from Colorado.
    I firmly believe the Dodgers will sign Turner for a short-term contract probably with incentives and an option. Friedman has been doing the incentive-laden contracts lately and they make sense as it makes the player bet on themselves.
    If the Dodgers re-sign Turner they have been talking about trying Smith at 3rd as he is proving to be a good contact and clutch hitter and catcher is a plus position with Ruiz due to come up and Barnes improving offensively and showing his pitch calling and catching skills in the playoffs. Rios & Beaty will see more playing time if Pederson and Hernandez leave. They do not need Arenado, especially they do not need to give the Rockies a huge prospect load for what could be a year rental.

  9. Arenado doesn’t strike me as a clutch player. In big games against the Dodgers over the years when the Rockies were in contention he struck out on horrible pitches often or had poor at bats where hittable pitches were popped up

  10. Its close to zero the Dodgers trade for Arenado. The Dodgers are going to have to Pay Seager, Bellinger, and Buhler here pretty quick and there are only so many big contracts a team can pay and still complete the rest of the roster. Seeing as Arenado is coming off his worst year should also give the Dodgers Pause. He’s owned huge money until his age 35 season. Plus you never know how Rockies hitters are going to do outside of Colorado. His OPS is drops nearly 200 points outside of Colorado. Big picture, the Dodgers are better off resigning Turner, while looking for the next third baseman. Even if they cant work out a deal with Turner, they have other options. Plenty of options on the current roster and options in free agency that would make more sense.

    Personally If they are going to make a big splash I’d rather go after Baur. Stud starting pitching is more valuable right now as the Dodger offense is still great without Arenado.

  11. I was advocating for a NA trade but in the last couple of days after reading some article and comments I have reversed on this topic. Indeed his stats away from Coor are pedestrian.
    He probably is not worth the prospects and money it would take to bring him to LA.
    DLM definetely is the better option to get that RH bat into the lineup.

    I still think Bauer would be a great addition if the Dodgers want to go all in for a repeat WS championship in 2021. If TB really wants to sign a 1- year deal and the price is reasonable I would do it.
    A rotation of CK, WB, TB, DP and JU would be the best in the game, maybe the history of baseball. Especially in the playoffs a rotation like that is almost impossible to beat in a best of 5 or best of 7. Plus it enables us to deploy Gonsolin and May (closer maybe) to the pen.
    I would also consider signing Hand or Hendriks to a 1-2 year contract to close games.
    It would leave the Dodgers with enough financial flexibility to sign our own young stars to long term contracts since after 2022 the Dodgers will have tons of money available and freed up.

  12. I live across the street from Coors Field and see Nolan on a regular basis. The guy is amazing at Coors and decent away. He’s a SoCal boy so it would be nice to continue the tradition following JT, but JT isn’t done and Nolan would be too expensive. I would rather see another former Rockies 2Bman, DJ LaMehieu, come over from NY. MLB teams have a habit of trying to keep winning squads together; on a personal level, it makes sense, but it rarely works out well. Keep core players and tinker on the margins with the occasional swoop for an impact player. Freidman’s done this year-after-year, with his biggest haul being Betts. I get Nolan is frustrated, but he’s been cancerous in the Rockies clubhouse, which Roberts and Freidman are no doubt sensitive about (Puig, Machado). Besides, it would just be too big a contract with Belli and Seager waiting in the wings.

  13. My Answer to those saying they can’t see any real upgrades. Hitting wise, and defensive wise there are two players that fit the Dodgers perfectly. 1: Is left fielder Ozuna from Atlanta. I’d sign him to a 4 year deal to solidify the outfield. I love Joc and maybe you can use him as the DH (If it returns to the NL) but let’s face it. Aside from hitting home runs he is a dead bat and a hole in the offensive output. And his defensive ability is decent but not great. Azuna gives you serious power, a righty bat which Roberts wanted and he hits for decent Average. Thus immediately filling a major need. Taylor can then play second base every day or platoon.

    Number two. Francisco Lindor. He’s only 26 and he is the best defensive infielder in baseball. He also hits for decent Average though not great last Qtr season. You’d have to trade to big Chips but the Dodgers have two big Chips in their minor league Catcher Ruiz and their second baseman prospect who’s name right now alludes me. grr. You don’t need Ruiz with Smith’s offense finally coming around and Smith is a better defensive Catcher anyway. Now maybe giving up the Second baseman might not work or it might. You could argue we need the young star at Second. Okay so then you have Hoesman or take your pick of like four A prospect Pitchers. Lindor and Azuna make your offense better, more powerful and better defensively. If you resign Baez and McGee and sign Liam (The best reliever on the Market) You are a WS team for the next 4 years at least. And obviously we HAVE to resign Seager. Seager will likely move to third if you get Lindor unless Lindor can play second. Imagine an outfield of Bellinger, Betts and Marcel Azuna And an infield of Seager, Lindor, Turner, Rios and Muncy and Smith I mean that team would win 125 games

  14. With the Dodgers needing to lock up Belly, Seager, Bueler and Urias long-term, the smart move is to re-sign JT which gives them time to evaluate Kody Hoese, Rios or even Smith at 3B. Lux needs a full season at 2B before you bring anyone else in…there will always be great options out there should he turn out to be a bust.

    If there will be a DH going forward, I’m making a huge effort to bring back Pedersen and let JT take his spot against lefties.

    Treinen absolutely needs to be resigned unless another team severely overpays for him.

  15. I would say sign Justin Turner and KiKe, forget Anenado, and go after LaMehieu for 2nd base, a lot cheaper. Use Lux and Beatty as starting pitching trade bate and develop Rios, keep Taylor and make moves to keep Seager, Bellinger and Urias around for a few more years! Barns and Smith are set at catcher! I would sign McGee short relief (cheap) and resign Blake Treinen (no one wanted) as the closer with Jansen. Big Off Season’s GETs resign Turner, Kike, resign the two pitchers no one wanted and the Grand Prize LaMehieu 2nd base!

    How do you pitch around that line up!

  16. I would say “no” to trading for Arenado this year. I don’t want Dodger prospects hurting us in Colorado for years to come. He can opt out after this year if he wants to be a Dodger.
    Now that the Mets will be paying $$$ to win, I would trade Seager to them for Conforto and valuable assets like the Yankees traded Chapman to the Cubs in 2016.
    1.R Betts RF
    2.L Muncy 2B
    3.R Turner 3B
    4.L Bellinger CF
    5.R Smith C
    6.L Conforto LF
    7.S Rios/Pollock 1B
    8.L Lux SS
    Then in 2022 I would sign Arenado and try to sign back Seager. If Boras makes that impossible, then you can look at signing Story, Lindor or Correa.
    1.R Betts RF
    2.L Seager SS
    3.R Arenado 3B
    4.L Bellinger CF
    5.S Muncy/Turner 1B
    6.L Conforto LF
    7.R Smith C
    8.L Lux 2B

    As far as pitchers go, if Bauer wants to sign 1 year super-high $$$ deals, that fits in with our philosophy very nicely. We love avoiding long-term deals.

  17. Second Biggest mistake in baseball history trading Seager at all! Lux is not the player you might think he is, trade bate at best and Muncy is not even average at second base fielding. The object in the off season is to improve the team not make them crappy!

    Sorry Troy I totally disagree!

    1. One more thing. I’m proposing getting something for Seager since Boras clients never re-sign without hitting the open market. Then we try to re-sign him after getting something for him the way the Yankees did with trading Chapman to the Cubs and then getting him right back in FA.

  18. Keep JT another 3 years until he retires with Rios as backup. We don’t need to spend those big bucks on Arenado. We got guys who will be FA soon and we’ll need to pay them. We won the series. I’m good watching these guys in 2021

  19. No on Arenado as his road numbers are average at best. Many can play in Colorado and hit a bunch of HR’s. His way overpaid contract should kill any deal. Lemehieu is an incredible talent and worth pursuing since 2b is a weak spot for LA. with that in place they can knock the socks off of someone with a Lux Kierbert package. Maybe landing say Hader for one of those. Getting rid of the so so players will help a ton, here’s to getting rid of Kiki and Pederson, Turner. Paving the way for Rios.

    1. I’ve been saying that for 5 years as well. Outside of Colorado, Arenado’s just another above average hitter. Put him at the Revine, his numbers drop. I say keep Turner 3 years and develop Rios. Go for Lemehieu and trade Lux and Muncy away.

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