Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The relationship between Nolan Arenado and the Rockies could be irretrievably broken, with the star third baseman recently going public over his frustration with GM Jeff Bridich.
After Bridich said earlier this week that the team had listened to Arenado trade offers and planned to move forward with him on the team in 2020, Arenado shot back. And if Colorado again opens trade talks, the Cardinals and Rangers could be two of the strongest suitors for Arenado, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported on Wednesday.
According to Morosi, the Rockies have informed interested teams that they would have to improve their 2020 big league team and acquire prospects in any deal for Arenado.
Specifically, the Rockies are interested in trading for "a potential No. 1 catcher for the long term," Morosi reports, with him listing Cardinals catching prospect Andrew Knizner and Rangers catching prospect Sam Huff as "prospects who match that description."
If Knizner and Huff are viewed as matches for what the Rockies seek, it's fair to believe that Mets catching prospect Francisco Alvarez (the No. 67 prospect in baseball in Baseball America's new top 100 list) could also fit that criteria.
The 18-year-old Alvarez, who is expected to open the 2020 season with Low-A Columbia, was recently ranked the No. 5 catching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline -- three spots ahead of Huff. The 22-year-old Huff finished the 2019 season in High-A and has a big league ETA of 2021. Alvarez likely won't be ready until 2022 at the earliest, with 2023 perhaps being a more reasonable expectation for his big league debut.
Knizner, the other catching prospect Morosi listed as a fit in a potential Arenado deal, is 24 years old and made his Cardinals debut in 2019, slashing .226/.293/.377 in 18 games.
If the Rockies want a big league-ready catcher, Knizner is a perfect match. But with Morosi also listing Huff as a fit, Alvarez -- who is more highly thought of than Huff by many -- could also pique Colorado's interest.
As far as what else the Mets could offer, Morosi reported earlier in January that Colorado also had interest in a controllable first baseman or center fielder. Enter Dominic Smith? With the Mets, Smith is surplus due to the presence of Pete Alonso and a full outfield. With another team that has an opening at first base, Smith could be much more than that.
Complicating things when it comes to a potential Arenado trade is the opt-out he has after the 2021 season and the hundreds of millions he is owed through 2026 if he doesn't opt out.
Any acquiring team should want Arenado to waive the opt-out if they trade key pieces for him and take on significant money, so that could come into play.
When it comes to the Mets specifically, it could be hard for them to fit Arenado into the 2020 budget with them already near the $208 million luxury tax threshold. But with them potentially being a match with the Rockies, lots of money coming off the books before the 2021 season, and a potential ownership change that could soon lead to an infusion of money, the Mets should be monitoring the Arenado situation very closely.