Rumors of the Dodgers acquiring Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado heated up thanks to former baseball executive Jim Bowden. During his MLB Network Radio show “Inside Pitch”, Bowden predicted that the Dodgers would acquire Arenado before Christmas.
After Bowden set the internet on a fire for a day or two, ESPN’s Buster Onley threw cold water on the idea. Onley stated that there were “monumental impediments” in the Dodgers trading for Arenado.
Regardless of who you believe, this isn’t the type of transaction that President Andrew Friedman typically executes.
Friedman didn’t build the Dodgers into a championship team by acquiring every mid-market team’s priciest player.
He prefers to keep the farm system stocked with talent and refrains from overpaying for players in trades. Friedman’s the king of working around the edges. He’s the executive equivalent of Greg Maddux. He’s not trying to throw straight heat every time. The genius lies in his finesse approach.
Trading for Nolan Arenado could cost the Dodgers Josiah Gray, Tony Gonsolin, and/or Gavin Lux. Gray is currently the Dodgers top prospect according to MLB.com.
The Verdugo-Mookie Betts trade is the one and only time Friedman traded a Dodgers former or current top prospect. It’s also the rare event where Friedman locked himself into a longterm deal in extending Betts. Let’s not forget, this is the guy who creatively offered Bryce Harper $45M per year instead of a longterm deal. He was entirely uncomfortable in tying the Dodgers to Harper longterm, despite his transcendent talent.
Even if the stars align for the Arenado move: the universal DH rule comes back in 2021 making logical space for both Arenado and the return of Justin Turner and Arenado agrees to remove the opt-out clause in his contract, it would still be a highly atypical maneuver by Friedman.
Friedman framed this championship window by refusing to habitually exchange coveted cost-controlled assets for immediate impact players, even of Arenado’s stature.