While the trade rumor mill in MLB has gone quiet with spring training closing in, the potential for one more blockbuster trade remains a possibility. According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies haven’t entirely dismissed a Nolan Arenado for Kris Bryant swap.
The two sides discussed the swap of their star third baseman earlier this offseason. However, some factors still make that still make a deal a long shot given Chicago’s desire to trim payroll, per The Athletic.
Bryant is owed just $18.6 million for the upcoming season and is arbitration-eligible for the final time next offseason. Arenado is owed $35 million annually over the next five seasons, so the Rockies would likely need to send cash to Chicago as part of the deal.
Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million extension with the Rockies in 2019. However, the relationship between the organization and its star is deteriorating. Even if the Rockies find a deal for their star third baseman, he holds a no-trade clause to block the trade and a player opt-out following the 2021 season.
From a talent perspective, both players offer MVP-caliber talent. Bryant won the NL MVP Award in 2016 and hit 31 homers with a .903 OPS this past season. Meanwhile, Arenado has won seven consecutive Gold Glove Awards and hit 41 home runs with a .962 OPS in 2019.
The Rockies still reportedly consider it highly unlikely that they will move Arenado before the trade deadline. If the situation changes, though, the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals could pursue either star third baseman if an outright swap doesn’t happen.