- Arenado Breakdown
- The Offer
- What The Dodgers Are Giving Up
- Givens Breakdown
- Why They Should Still Do It
All of MLB has eyes on Lindor this Winter, but another infielder may generate just as much buzz if the Rockies announce they want to move Arenado. And right now, executives are betting that he’ll be “a Dodger by Christmas.”
The 3-time, platinum glove 3rd baseman is about to be in the 2nd year of an 8 year, $260 million contract. He does have an opt-out after his 3rd year and a no-trade clause. As of right now, it’s an opt-out he’s assumed to take if he’s still with Colorado. Rumor has it, the So-Cal native has his eyes set on LA.
Beyond the platinum gloves, Arenado has won 7 golden gloves, 3 Wilson defensive player of the year awards, 4 silver sluggers, and 5 all star selections.
Still, non-believers will claim it is the Coors Field effect that has made Arenado one of the top 3rd basemen for almost a decade. And it’s true. His career slash line at Coors is a much better .322/.376/.609 to his away line of .263/.322/.471.
An OPS of .985 versus .793 is the difference between elite and slightly above average. A wRC+ of 128 versus 108 away. A solid 20% difference. Statcast agrees, and has his expected career line at .270/.350/.489 against his actual .293/.349/.541
On top of the home/road splits, Arenado is coming off his worst professional year. Even at home he only slashed .271/.304/.505 for a wRC+ of 79. 49% lower than his career 128 mark there. Overall he hit a meager .253/.303/.434 with 8 homers.
For the first time in his career, Arenado doesn’t seem like a sure thing outside of Coors. Any team looking to acquire him is taking the gamble of being the next laughing stock (Angels with Albert Pujols.) Or, they are locking down a future HOFer for the next 7 years.
Not many teams can afford that gamble. But the 2020 World Series champions can. Divisional trades don’t happen often, but the Dodgers have long been after the Newport Beach native. And if the Rockies hold onto him, it’s possible they’ll receive nothing in return while losing their franchise centerpiece of the last decade.
- Matt Beaty 1B,3B,OF,
- Kody Hoese 3B (3rd),
- Diego Cartaya (5th),
- Mitchell White (9th),
- Jacob Amaya (10th),
- Andre Jackson(28th),
- Robinson Ortiz (29th)
- Nolan Arenado
- Mychal Givens
- Ian Desmond
- Money for Arenado’s contract
What The Dodgers Send Away
You may be scared off initially by our 7 players (6 top 30 prospects) for 3 offer, but remember that divisional trades don’t come cheaply. We also know our proposal is very different from the other rumors out there, but when has Friedman ever done exactly what was expected?
We’ll break it down player by player just to see how much the Dodgers would be giving up here, and why we think this trade is still worth it.
- Matt Beaty
Unfortunately there just isn’t room for Beaty on this Dodger’s squad. Edwin Rios is a bigger, absurdly strong, version of Matt. They play all the same positions and hit from the same side of the plate.
But Beaty is a contact hitter who would thrive in Colorado. He could replace Daniel Murphy in the lineup right away, and give the Rockies more defensive versatility that they’ve been working on.
And even though his stats regressed in his very short 2020, he actually lowered his chase rate by over 5%. His sweet spot hit rate shot up 10% to 38.9% last year. His average exit velocity ticked up. The same clutch hitter is still there. He just didn’t have an opportunity in 2020 to show it. Colorado would be great to him.
- Kody Hoese (Dodgers #3 Prospect)
He was the 25th pick of the 2019 draft and was largely seen as Justin Turner’s replacement. He’s built well to handle the hot corner at 6’4″, 200 lbs. And at 23 years of age, he’s getting close to MLB ready.
Rookie ball in 2019 was a joke for him, as he OPS’d 1.099 to earn his promotion to A ball. He slowed down a bit there only slashing .264/.330/.385 but all of the same skills translated to the next level.
He’s not a top 100 prospect as of now, but it would not surprise us to see him towards the top of the 2021 list. Unfortunately he missed his 2020 season, but the well rounded 3rd baseman seems to have Arenado potential at the plate.
He’s just not ready quite yet. But this is the biggest prize the Dodgers would be giving up in exchange for Arenado. It’s the expensive proven star versus the young cheap upside. And normally the Dodgers prefer the latter.
- Diego Cartaya (5th)
The Dodgers have known what they’ve had in Cartaya as soon as they signed him for $2.5 million as a 16 year old. He’s currently 19, and built solid for a catcher at 6’2″, 199 pounds. Scouts grade him very favorably for a kid his age with his strengths being behind the plate and in the box.
Diego showed starting promise in his 2019 season by slashing .281/.343/.432 to pair with his stellar defense. And it’s hard not to imagine the power developing further for the big 19 year old. He comps well to World Series champion, all star, catcher, Salvador Perez.
However, Austin Barnes rebounded in 2020 thanks to Mookie, Will Smith has emerged as a star, and switch-hitting 22 year old Keibert Ruiz is ready for his due. Even though Cartaya isn’t expect until 2023, the Dodger’s may have the decade’s best combo-backstop in baseball with the two young studs ahead of him.
He’s easier to give away than Hoese, just because of the talent the Dodger’s have in front of him. Still, he’s a huge pickup for a Rockies team that has pieced together catchers for quite some time.
- Mitchell White (9th)
Mitchell White is an MLB starter on most teams. But on the Dodgers he maybe doesn’t even crack top 10. He’s 25, 6’3″, 210 lbs, and ready for the prime of his career. He was the 65th overall pick in 2016, so he was obviously viewed as a possible Ace.
He pitched 3 innings last year and even walked away with his first MLB win. He allowed a hit, a walk, and struck out 2 out of the pen.
In the minors, he still hasn’t pitched more than 105.1 innings in a season. But he has a respectable 3.97 career ERA with a 1.22 WHIP. He’s been a slow mover which has actually brought his stats down.
He didn’t even give up a run in his rookie 2016 campaign. He put up a 2.93 in 2017, but stumbled in AA with a 4.53 ERA in 2018. He came back in 2019 to pitch to a 2.10 ERA in 30 AA innings. But once again stumbled to a 6.50 ERA in 63+ innings at AAA.
He missed out on a chance to show his rebound statistically in 2020, but the potential still seems to be there and ready for a real shot at starting. Colorado would not be the kindest spotfor him, but he would have a chance to be a starter with them at least.
- Jacob Amaya (10th)
Amaya isn’t expected until 2022, but he seems to be an average 4 to 5 tool middle-infielder. He’s 22 and a solid 6’0″, 180 which gives hope that his power will develop further.
He comes from a baseball family and has an incredible eye at the plate. So far his career line is .273/.386/.398. He regresses with promotions typically which is a concern, but the almost .400 OBP is beautiful. Coors would be great to a player like this.
- Andre Jackson (28th)
Jackson just got added to the Dodger’s 40 man roster which means they either want him for next year, or they’re trying to move him. He was an outfielder as well as a pitcher in college before he needed Tommy John in 2017.
He’s a big 6’3″, 210 and throws up to 98 MPH with late movement. And he has a plus changeup for a guy who only committed to pitching in the last couple years. He also mixes in an average curve, and has a slider that needs some work.
He’s still working on building his confidence and attacking the zone. Unless he can do that and build up his control, his ceiling may be as a reliever. Granted, he could be fantastic at that.
Still, the Rockies would love a starting pitcher who finds success without primarily relying on the movement of his pitches. As for the Dodgers, they have 13 pitching prospects ranked ahead of him.
- Robinson Ortiz (29th)
Finally, 20 year old, left-handed pitcher, Robinson Ortiz. He’s an average 6′, 180 pound signing out of the Dominican. He’s only touched single A ball, but projected as a middle of a rotation starter.
He also ticked up his fastball to the 94-97 MPH range last spring and hasn’t had a chance to show off what he can do with that now. It’s possible he trends even higher if the uptick helps his changeup.
Scouts one complaint with his third offering, the slider, was the curveball speed he threw it at. They still graded the pitch as average. If that ticked up as well, Ortiz is looking at having three plus offerings as a 21 year old next year.
To be honest, we hate the idea of selling this kid right before we think he’s going to break out. But again, the Dodger’s just have so much pitching talent, they can afford to overpay when it means a real shot at back to back titles.
Givens has 1 year and $3.75 million left on his contract. If the Rockies are trading away Arenado, they are giving up on next season and officially rebuilding. That makes impending free agent, Givens a sensible trade piece.
He has 21 career saves, an ERA of 3.41, and a WHIP of 1.14. He uses his 95 MPH fastball the most. Followed by his change up at 83 MPH, and his slider at 85. All of which had a slight tick down in 2020.
Still he went 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and even got a save in there. But after a career low 4.57 ERA performance in 2019, remaining in the high 3’s was frustrating for the hopeful closer.
Especially considering he was throwing to a 1.38 ERA in Baltimore before being trading to Colorado and balloting to a 6.75 ERA. It’s clear that he cannot perform there. It’s even more clear when his statcast percentiles look this good with those awful results.
A move to pitcher friendly, and loaded LA would be ideal for the would be free agent. And with the closer role uncertain in Dodger town for the first time in almost a decade, Givens can earn himself quite the payday and possibly a ring in LA.
Desmond could be immediately DFA’d by the Dodgers and paid his $14 million to hit the market at 35. He’s played 11 major league seasons. He spent most of his years in Washington, one in Texas, and the last 3 in Colorado.
He’s hit .263/.315/.427 over his career with 181 homers and 181 stolen bases. He’s a 2 time all star, 3 time silver slugger, and finished 16th in MVP voting in his career best 2012 campaign.
But he’s been on a steady decline since then. The one exception was a rebound 2016 for the Rangers. Otherwise he’s been a below average producer at the plate for 4 of his last 5 seasons.
His 2019 was a decent rebound year. He slashed .255/.310/.479, but without the Coors effect he was still 12% below the average MLB hitter in production. Then he chose not to play in 2020.
So the Dodgers may take a chance at spring training on him, but more likely than not he would be an immediate salary dump for a cash-strapped Rockies club.
Essentially, the Rockies would pay it off via Arenado subsidies instead in our scenario. But save a large amount for a season that may see more losses for MLB owners.
Meanwhile, the perpetually wealthy Dodgers take a hit because they can. In return they save on the future years of Arenado by maybe $20 million. Freeing up plenty of cap space for the future signings of whichever Core Players the Dodgers can keep.
Why The Dodgers Should Do This
A lot of Dodger fans have concerns about overpaying for Arenado, and we get it. The only guarantee with Arenado is a platinum glove at the hot corner. But the asking price for him has him valued as a .300, 40 homer, 100 RBI player. There’s no guarantee he can produce anywhere near that out of Colorado.
However, even when Arenado is adjusted for Coors with wRC+, Nolan is 18% better than the average MLB player. Mix that with his league-leading glove, and he can still easily produce a floor of the 4.0 WAR to justify his salary.
He’s been crazy consistent throughout his career ranging from only 4.5 WAR to 5.9 WAR from 2015 to 2019. He only trended upward until last year’s slump on top of that. (4.5, 5.0, 5.7, 5.7, 5.9) Even with his career lows across the board in 2020, he still paced for around 3.2 WAR. A great year for most players.
Again, that was as a negative for his team at the plate. He was a full 24% below average last year. If he was just average, which is a reasonable assumption for a hitter with his resume (Coors or not), he’s above that floor of 4.
In our head, the Dodgers are trading away the first five players we mentioned in exchange for Arenado and a discount on his contract. Even if it’s only a few million, it can be the difference between signing one of the young core studs (Corey Seager anyone???) and losing them.
As for Givens, we say we’re trading the two last pitching prospects for him. A very reasonable price for what can be a cheap, elite reliever for the next year. As a floor, he’s a fill in for Baez. But at his ceiling, he replaces Treinen and makes a play for the closing role.
So while yes, the Dodgers would be trading away a fortune for these two, it’s only from positions of strength. And more importantly, the Dodgers keep all of their young prospects that have blossomed recently.
Trade for Arenado. Package in Givens and money. You get the power right handed bat that was so hard to replace in Turner. You get a little help for cap room for other stars. You restock a transitioning bullpen for cheap.
While you lose the 3rd baseman you hope turns into something close to Arenado. A MLB hitter you don’t have room to use. A talented catcher in an unfortunate age range for the system he’s in. And a few more high upside guys that are caught in the logjam which is the Dodgers.
Overall, this could still be a win-win.
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