Like any team, the Dodgers would be an improved team if they signed Nolan Arenado after the 2019 season. He’s an excellent player, even with some unbalanced home and road splits. The Rockies are on the record as wanting to sign him to an extension after they agreed to an arbitration compromise at $26M.
There has been some speculation that the reason the Dodgers haven’t signed Bryce Harper was that they might want to sign Arenado after the 2019 season. David Vassegh was on the MLB Network talking about this topic. The relevant conversation starts a little after the 3:00 mark.
Nolan Arenado Breakdown
Nolan Arenado is a local boy who grew up as a Dodgers fan, who many, including Vin Scully, adore. He is a “gamer” who hits lefties both in Colorado and away. The splits he has in Denver versus the road are pretty extreme and these numbers would be a concern on the surface. Some say that players on the Rockies have an extra burden on them by having to adjust to normal altitude then to the mile-high altitude.
There are a lot of reasons to want Nolan Arenado on the Dodgers after 2019. Going into the 2020 season Arenado would be starting his age 29 season. For a comparison, both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are entering the 2019 season as 26 year olds. After the 2018 season he has accumulated at 33.1 WAR according to baseball reference. His defense at third base is outstanding as many Dodger fans have witnessed. If it wasn’t for Arenado then Juan Uribe may have captured one or two Gold Gloves.
Juan Uribe knows how to celebrate a no-hitter. Well, everything really: pic.twitter.com/0mLccnImNU
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 25, 2014
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Why The Rockies Will Sign Him Before He Reaches Free Agency
Despite possible service time manipulation by the Rockies at the beginning of the 2013 season, Arenado seems to have a great relationship with them. Before the 2018 season, the Rockies overpaid Charlie Blackmon with a 6 year/$108M contract going into his year 31/32 season so I fully expect the them to go all out to sign Arenado as soon as possible.
The Rockies know Arenado better than any club, with their emotional attachment to him dating to when they selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft. They know his character, his work ethic, the positive impact he has on their culture. Their mere willingness to engage in long-term discussions indicates how much they trust him. Arenado has been on the disabled list only once in his six-year career, for a fractured left middle finger in the first half of 2014. – Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic
Given how slow the market is right now with both Harper and Machado not signed as of February 4, just a few days before spring training, there must be some fear on the Arenado side. He used to be with Scott Boras as his agent but has moved on to the Wasserman Agency. They don’t work like Boras as he prefers to take players into free agency and get every last penny for his players (and himself).
Would The Dodgers Sign Arenado
If Arenado somehow doesn’t sign with the Rockies and becomes a free agent, much of Dodger fandom will get to repeat this off-season, replacing Harper for Arenado. As Vassegh speaks about above, he would be an excellent fit for the Dodgers. However, just like we’ve seen this off-season, the Dodgers are not going to spend just to spend. Despite having quite a bit of room under the luxury tax threshold in 2020, players such as Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger will be eligible for arbitration. Other than Clayton Kershaw, no Dodger makes more than $16M per season as they look to have a deep team not just a few highly paid players. It is also clear that they don’t want to exceed the luxury tax threshold if they can avoid it.
Given the history of the Andrew Friedman regime, do you see Arenado being given an 8 year/$250M contract? Personally, I’m all for signing Arenado but I believe he plays if safe and signs with the Rockies before he hits free agency. Even if he reaches free agency, would the Dodgers get into a bidding war for him? If Miguel Andujar continues to be an awful defensive player for the Yankees, then you have a bidding war. The Dodgers will try for the shorter term contracts with players such as Arenado and Anthony Rendon. They didn’t want to pay Harper into his year 35 season so why would they pay Arenado into his year 36 or 37 season? I’m going to temper my hopes right now about Arenado and, given the evidence and past history, assume he will not be signed by the Dodgers after the 2019 season.
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