Here is an idea that I would like considered. I promise that it makes sense. Will Dodger fans be happy? Probably not. But keep in mind that this is just a hypothetical theory as I see it in my crystal ball. It means nothing other than me just having fun with some numbers that make sense to me to acquire a player that has won 8 Gold Gloves in a row at third base. Nolan Arenado can be our third baseman for the next 6 years. I will admit, I love Justin Turner. He has been the heart and soul for the club, but Arenado, who is 29, can be taken on the cheap, for the next 6 years and we can essentially play defense in the offseason by attacking with some offense with our moves. The Colorado Rockies’ GM and Arenado have had a fall out due to their inability to put a contender on the field that can compete for a title. At the same time, they have a budding star named Trevor Story that they would love to build around. The problem for them is that they are on the hook for 199Million dollars for Arenado. Can the Dodgers afford a 199 million dollar contract for Arenado for the next 6 years? Absolutely not. But here is the deal, with a clever combination trade of existing contracts on current players, Arenado can be had for a lot less. Hear me out and check out my proposition:
In my trade, Nolan Arenado will go to the Dodgers with his 199Million dollar contract, and in return the Dodgers will send them Kenley Jansen’s 20 million contract, AJ Pollack’s 41 Million contract (3 more years), and Edwin Rios who is getting paid the players minimum of 575K and who is locked in through 2026.
Keep in mind that if the Dodgers choose to not resign Turner, they are scratching off another 20Million per year because that is what Turner made in 2020. Do the math for 2021. (Turner 20 Million, Rios 575K, Kanley 20 Million, Polluck 18 million, for a total of $58, 575, 000 for 2021.) Arenado is taking 35 Million for 2021. You are left with a balance of $22,575,000. With 22.5 million you can afford to pass the closer role to Graterol or Dustin May, who are at the player’s minimum. You can have them compete with our other guy Joe Kelly. Proven? I don’t think so, but with the amount of doubt Kenley left the front office, It sounds like a doable step. Next, you shave off AJ Polluck who had a terrific 2020 regular season but you have to give the Rockies some high caliber talent in return. AJ was a guy who had a better offensive year than Arenado but we all know what Arenado can do. We also lose a great kid like Rios who can potentially become the Rockies 3B. We still have the 22.575 Million to fill some other voids. We can use that money to pick up a veteran utility player (hint, hint…Kike) and possibly another veteran arm.
If you think about it, it makes sense in the long run of numbers. 199Million over the next 6 years for Arenado. Total being dumped 41M+20M+575K+ the 20 million void we are left for a third baseman for 2021= 81,575,000. When you subtract that from Arenado’s 199Million, you are left with $117, 425, 000. It gets even cheaper when you factor in that the Dodgers were spending 20 million per year on a third baseman. I just calculated 20 million for 2021 which is what Turner had left on his contract. But what if I added the other 5 years at 20 million? That is an extra 100million. So now subtract the 100M and we are left with 17,425,000 which is essentially the amount we would have overpaid for a solid player at third base. When you look at it that way, we essentially only overpaid 17 million for him. I did this math for a player that in my opinion is one of the greatest players of the game today. My favorite player was Beltre so I guess I am looking for a good replacement to continue to watch for many years.
I must admit, that given the fact that the Dodgers, have some juggling to do in order to sign, Seager, Bellinger, Buehler, Urias, and Will Smith down the line…they would sort of be shooting themselves in the foot given the fact that Arenado, although is a great player, ties up too much capital over a series of years when Signing Turner to a one or two year contract for 20 million might sound like more of a deal. Or is it? Remember, if you are not able to dump Kanley 20Million, and AJ Pollock 18 million, that is now 20+20+18 = 58 million that you just tied for 2021. The problem comes to fruition in 2022 when you have to now negotiate a long term contract for Cory Seager. Bellinger’s free Agency doesn’t come up until 2024, so he will not be an issue until then. Problem is Seager and Bellinger are going to want Mookie Betts type of money. Can you keep both? Or should you keep both? It is a nice problem to have and Friedman and the Dodgers front office are playing with house money. Perhaps they can sacrifice one. Buehler doesn’t have free agency until 2025. Urias will want to get paid this offseason and I definitely think Urias deserves to get paid after his playoff performance. The Dodgers have to pay him too. He needs to get somewhere between 13 and 16 million because I guarantee that there are many teams in the league who can use a veteran left handed pitcher with playoff experience who is only 24 and would be willing to sign him to a 5-6 year deal perhaps longer. The Dodgers cannot let him go. That would be blasphemy.
Let’s not forget about Kershaw. His contract expires in 2021. What happens after that? I say sign him but I am not so sure that happens. It should. He should finish his career as a Dodger, but with all the free agents coming up, is that something else you want to tie yourself up with? I am just playing devil’s advocate. Not signing him would make the front office very unpopular. Not someone’s shoes I want to be in. That is a tough one. I believe that is a call you leave up to Kershaw. If Kershaw wants to leave, you let him go. If he wants to stay, you sign him.
Given that the front office is data driven, they will definitely look at WAR numbers. So let’s do that. Arenado had a 2020 WAR of 1.4 and has a career WAR of 38.9. Pollock had a 2020 WAR of 0.6, and a career WAR of 19.9. Turner had a 1.3 in 2020 and a career WAR of 29.3. Kenley’s 2020 WAR was 0.6 and his career WAR is 16.3. Edwin Rios 2020 0.6, Career 1.0. Easy to say that Turner and Kanley are on the decline so you must factor that in.
Clearly, the highest WAR numbers have been delivered by Arenado so you can use the argument that the extra 17 million dollar premium is worth it for a player that has way more upside especially still being so young. Rios, and Pollock are both very young and also have some good years ahead of them but Nolan Arenado is as sure of a star as any. He can always get hurt of course and that sends your play down the drain but that can happen to anyone. You can’t get made at the front office for trying. With Turner, you might have that media blowback for returning to the field after being removed for COVID and I am not sure how that translates into a media nightmare but that is something that they will have to think about. The Dodgers also get to dump Kanley’s 20 million contract which you have to question if that is really worth it for a closer who has lost his aura of dominance. Rios seems like he would be a great addition in the American league as a DH because his defense doesn’t come close to Justin Turner’s glove much less Arenado’s defense. I believe our biggest loss will be AJ Pollock because he has put up good numbers over his career and he is a solid defender.
So after analyzing the pros and cons of this Arenado trade it seems that we are 17 million short of making this deal happen. But…what if…just what if, we can convince the Rockies to eat up those 17 million dollars? What about half of those 17 million (8.5million)? Is it a go for you? You don’t even have to ask me twice. I would do it straight up and pay the 17 million dollar premium.