After trading Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies should just trade these five players and complete their roster tear-down.
No one said it would be easy, but Nolan Arenado though the Colorado Rockies would spend money to compete when he signed and eight-year, $260 million deal just under two years ago. Trade rumors surrounded Arenado as he made his unhappiness clear, and pending the mechanics of the deal becoming official the eight-time Gold Glover is on his way to the St. Louis Cardinals.
As part of the deal, the Rockies are reportedly sending $50 million to the Cardinals to offset the $199 million Arenado is owed through 2026. And they’re also not getting any of St. Louis’ top-tier prospects. At least they avoided having to take on a high salary the Cardinals may have wanted to offload (Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler).
With the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the on the rise San Diego Padres not going anywhere, the Rockies are left competing for no better than third place in the NL West for at least the next couple of years. That is the worst place to be–no legit chance to win a World Series and not quite bad enough to get a top draft pick. Having multiple expensive players can make it worse.
Arenado forced the Rockies’ hand by being so open with his discontent and naming GM Jeff Bridich along the way. But moving him should probably be the start of a process that culminates in something like a 100-loss season.
On that note, the Rockies should trade these five players to complete their roster tear-down.
Vive players the Rockies should trade to complete their roster tear-down
5. OF Ian Desmond
Desmond opted out of the shortened 2020 season. When we last saw him he hit 20 home runs over 443 at-bats for the Rockies in 2019, and going back to 2012 he has hit at least 19 home runs in every season he has played over 100 games.
A look a deeper numbers says the 35-year old is not a good bet for 20 home runs (or a full-time role) anymore, and the speed that once had him as an annual 20-20 threat is gone. He is a contender for a spot in Colorado’s starting outfield this year, but at what price defensively given the spacious Coors Field grass? Well we know what the price was in 2019, as he posted -21 Defensive Runs Saved in centerfield (609.1 innings).
A contending team might see Desmond for what he should be now–a bench bat who can still hammer left-handers (.977 OPS in 2019) and has a bit of position versatility. He is on the books for $8 million in 2021, with a $15 million club option ($2 million buyout) for 2022.
According to Spotrac, Desmond also has a $1 million trade kicker and a full no-trade clause takes effect if he is traded. So an acquiring team wouldn’t be able to flip him during the season if they wanted to. But the Rockies have already shown they’ll eat money to get a deal done, so let’s assume they’d do it here if it means moving Desmond.