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Dodgers: Why Andrew Friedman Will Not Acquire Nolan Arenado

History shows that Andrew Friedman is unlikely to trade top prospects for the superstar Rockies third baseman.



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.

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Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. I agree Kasten and Friedman have built the most respected Minor League organization in the MLB. The best way to build a team for decades is to promote from within and only sign one or two high-end free agents to address a need.
    Mookie Betts is a generational talent. It is extremely rare for a team to trade its home-grown superstar. We are all thrilled with the WS Championship and the signing of Betts. Congrats to the Dodger organization in trading and signing for Betts.
    As the contracts of Seager, this year and Bellinger and Buehler are the year after I do not expect the Dodgers to sign any player that will take a high $ long-term contract. That puts Arenado, Bryant, Lindor, etc out of the equation.
    I expect the Dodgers may trade a highly rated prospect if they have a logjam at the MLB level. In 2021 the Dodgers need to make a decision on Ruiz and with Barnes & Smith, they have 2 catchers that performed well. Do they trade Ruiz? Or Smith? Or Barnes? Or do they bring up Ruiz and platoon Smith at 3rd and not sign JT? having too much talent is a terrific problem to have. What do they do with Gray? Or White? Or Santana? Stay tuned…

    • nice comment. i agree we will not go for arenado, bryant, or lindor. i would definitely go for lemahieu and he costs nothing but money. if we were offering $45m for harper, $25m for the best 2nd baseman in the league is not out of line. i’d keep lux but he is miles away from earning a starting spot on the world champions.

      • Agree. I personally don’t mind if we let Seager walk next year and sign Lindor, especially since we would get a draft pick. But this year we shouldn’t be expensive. Maybe DJLM would be a good idea but I don’t think we should get him and Turner.

  2. I’m hanging my hat on this one.
    Arenado will be a Dodger.I also think it will be this year and if not he will be someday. Arenado is a Dodger fan He also loves baseball, stating the obvious there, but I do know that he wants to and will do anything to get to this team. So when you have a motivated player like this I think this will work for everyone.

    • If you “know that he wants to and will do anything to get to this team” why did he sign the contract he’s currently under with the Rockies? And jow do you know? Did he tell you this over a couple of beers? Just asking.

      • He did sign his contract when the Rockies were on the rise. Then last year they tanked and don’t appear to be looking to compete any time soon (David Dahl non-tendered?) Plus he found out through the media that the Rockies were “entertaining offers.” The he told the press he hadn’t had a conversation with the GM in “months.” You think that Friedman would go “months” without even checking in with Bellinger or Seager? Still, I don’t see the Dodgers trading for Arenado. The cost in prospects, the luxury tax implications and the ripple effect on the team’s ability to extend Bellinger, Seager and Buehler make this a “three strikes” scenario.

    • It’s not up to Arenado and Friedman won’t do it this year. If/when he opts out next year Friedman might consider it.

  3. Incorrect assessment. Andrew Friedman gets too much credit on this article. What about Ned? All the half the horses came from Ned.
    Also, he did spend on Betts. So I believe based on that he has shown his tendency to make a deal.
    Someone would have to check his brain if he didn’t seriously consider this deal. Arenado a fraction if he is able to dump the right guys.. jensen n Pollock for starters would make a bad deal look good.

    • Uh … no. Kershaw, Seager, Jansen, Bellinger, and Turner are what’s left from Ned’s days. Friedman’s first draft pick was Buehler and his historically great 2016 draft has Lux, Smith, May, and Gonsolin on the team with Smelzer (Minn), Kremer (Balt), and Scrubb (Hou) in the majors. In addition, Mitchell White, DJ Peters, Cody Thomas, and Zack McKinstry are knocking on the door from the same draft. Seager and Bellinger didn’t reach the majors until after Ned was gone. In fact, Friedman took heat for refusing to trade them while they were still prospects.

      Anyone who still thinks this is Ned’s team – or a large portion is – is just flat wrong.

  4. Arenado does love his hometeam (that’s been reported a few times over the last few years) and would love to finally get a ring with his boyhood team. Now, would he restructure his contract to do so? If not, if no hometown discount, then I doubt it ever happens…

  5. BIG RIGHTHANDED BAT! Arenado is that big bat, Gavin Lux was a bust, the Dodgers are loaded with farmhands, give up a couple and resign Turner and Dodgers are set for a Back to Back run as World Champions. JT can play second base, live up to his nickname “Redturn2”. Andrew make the move!

  6. What happened with Gavin Lux? I thought this kid had all the bells and whistles? Does anyone have any insight? If not, it looks like the return of Red Dawn 2 Turner!

  7. Said this from the beginning, and I say it again. 1. Zero chance Friedman makes this trade. 2. Zero chance he opts out of his contract. Friedman won’t pay 33M a year for 6 years for a guy in his 30s, who hit for an OPS under .800 outside of Colorado in his 20s. Not even if the Rockies were to give him way for a bucket of balls, forget about top prospects. And or the same reason no one is going to give him a contract even close to what he already has after this coming season, especially with money super tight for the majority of teams.

  8. All in all this topic about Arenado is a non issue. Most likely Arenado stays with Rockies and will opt out after 2021 so he can actually be a free agent. I don’t see Dodgers or any other team willing to trade top prospects to get him under these current circumstances.

  9. Dodgers try for Arenado simply if they can’t work a deal with JT. Because they can afford it. Dodgers need players who weren’t there in 2020 so that they can still stay “fresh” and win for the new motivated guys.

    But if JT signs, they don’t give up prospects for Arenado and wait for him to opt out. This gives Dodgers opportunity to platoon JT with Rios. Rios then becomes a primary player or trade bait after 2021 season.

    But it’s all on what happens with JT.

  10. Save the big money for Seager Bollinger and Buehler. They are younger and have a better future. Bring Honeycutt back to teach Graterol a second pitch This is the last year for Kenley and maybe Kershaw.. No other team has 3 starters as young and good as Buehler May and Uriah, Gonsolin will make that four Life is good,. Two more years of Turner and Huess and Mckinstry will be ready

  11. Friedman won’t trade for Arrenado. They will resign JT and an additional reliever or two. I would love to see them trade for Bryant and move JT to 1st or DH (if one is implemented) but it’s a long shot. Would be nice to trade Lux and Kelly to the Cubs for Bryant. I think Luc will be a disappointment and Kelly helps offset some of Bryant’s contract. Resigning Bryant though along with Saeger are probably not an option give Boras and how much money he would expect.

  12. Personally, I like Arenado as a Dodgers but at what costs? I hope that the Dodgers’ focus on keeping JT (who may really want to end his career as a Dodgers.) Besides, we have Rios who proved himself plenty. I would not want Bryant because he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time on the IL which would bring us back to using Rios (or someone we already have), anyways.

  13. No way the Dodgers pony up any prospects for Arenado, when they can simply wait to see if he opts out after the season and they could get him for less money and 0 prospects. Dodgers can add around the edges and see who they want to add after 2021. Turner could still be considered adding around the edges for 2021 as long as they keep his pay day to two years at a lower annual than he previously signed for. He’s a great player when he’s on the field, but it’s unrealistic to hope he plays more than 120 games a year going forward.

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