Rumors surrounding Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado began at the Winter Meetings in early-December, and have since swirled around teams like the Braves, Rangers, Nationals, and Phillies. Those teams have been involved to varying degrees, but over the weekend it became clear that the St. Louis Cardinals had emerged as the most aggressive club in pursuit.
The Cardinals completed a six-player trade last week, which brought over prized left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore from the Rays. In Liberatore, the Cardinals could have a future fixture in the starting rotation, but they could also have a potential trade piece in a deal for Arenado. With the potential departure of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna, the Cardinals could make sense as a destination for Arenado as they look to replicate the right-handed power production provided by Ozuna this season.
The reported stumbling block for Atlanta in their pursuit of Arenado centered on the insecurity of his current contract, which features an opt-out after two seasons along with a full no-trade clause, plus $234 million committed over the next seven seasons assuming the young star opts into the final five years following the 2021 season. If St. Louis feels some level of comfort with those arrangements, then a deal may materialize for the two sides. This was simply not a tenable situation for Atlanta given their financial constraints along with impending contract extension talks with Freddie Freeman, which would be hampered by such a sizable deal.
The first installment of the Talking Chop Top 30 Prospects List will be unveiled on Monday but for now we are graced with the foreword, which features honorable mentions that just missed the cut.
Alex Wood was a popular nominee for a Braves reclamation project this offseason, but the left-hander agreed to a one-year deal with Dodgers on Sunday.
Todd Frazier is headed to Texas, which means he is not headed to Atlanta, which I would consider a positive development in the Braves’ third base pursuits.
Here are the next four free agents classes, which should be of interest to Braves fans as the club looks to surround its young core with veteran stars.