The manager search can wait for the New York Mets. Instead, their energy should go toward seeing how realistic a trade for Nolan Arenado is.
For a large portion of the winter, Arenado has been talked about as one of the biggest trade candidates. Even after signing an extension last winter, it appears Arenado and the front office are hoping to end their relationship.
On Monday, Arenado spoke out about feeling “disrespected” by the organization. He didn’t go into too many details with MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, but where there is smoke there is often fire.
While the Mets’ plans this week have been focused on finding a replacement for Carlos Beltran, I think it’s time to put those thoughts on hold for the time being. It’s rare for a player of Arenado’s stature to become available via trade.
And you better believe there are at least another dozen teams out there who will be looking to pry Arenado away from Colorado.
Arenado will cost a ton even with the Rockies feeling like they need to make a trade. As some have put it, this is getting into the same territory as Giancarlo Stanton’s relationship with the Miami Marlins before he was traded to the New York Yankees prior to 2018.
Arenado would fit in with the Mets even if his bat loses a bit of production with a shift from Coors Field to Citi Field. He’s a Gold Glove third baseman who would give the team something they haven’t had much of in a long time: superb defense.
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The exact cost of what it would take to land a player of his caliber is certainly extreme. It would also undoubtedly push the Mets over the luxury tax—something only Steve Cohen would dare to pay for.
A trade for Arenado would likely cost the Mets at least a pair of top prospects and two major league players on low salaries. I would imagine Jeff McNeil is someone the Rockies would demand to have. Put his high-contact bat and growing power in Coors Field and I think the Flying Squirrel could put up numbers he only dreamed of.
The Mets are at a severe disadvantage, though. In trades like these, I think it’s imperative to have one elite-level prospect you’re willing to part with. Trading Arenado is not a win-now move. It’s a reset button which means accepting a greater chance of a losing season.
While we can dream of seeing Arenado hitting behind Pete Alonso in 2020, a more realistic destination for him may be with the Atlanta Braves. They have a farm system that could blow the Rockies away. Some wise payroll decisions could also allow them to add Arenado onto the roster without too many payroll consequences.
Let’s also not rule out the odds of seeing Arenado on other perpetual high-spenders such as the Los Angeles Dodgers. The same way the Mets could look at him as a way to help us move on from the Beltran fiasco, the Dodgers may see Arenado as an answer to a weak offseason.
Brodie Van Wagenen isn’t doing his job unless he gets on the phone with the Rockies. It’s worth exploring if only to give us one big splash this winter and turn this franchise’s chances from good to great in 2020.
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As important as the manager search is, the players on the field matter a whole lot more. Once upon a time, the Mets traded away a great named Nolan. Decades later, they can bring one to town.