Not too long ago, the New York Yankees were rumored to be a destination for Nolan Arenado as his situation with the Colorado Rockies gradually deteriorated. But come on, did you really think Brian Cashman was going to make that kind of a deal, especially just a couple years after he brought in Giancarlo Stanton?
He would've had to surrender a number of top prospects, essentially give up on Miguel Andújar, inherit a massive contract, and hope that Arenado wouldn't exercise his opt-out clause when the time came. That's the perfect storm for the Yankees to be dissuaded, as if the money hadn't already been enough.
But now? Oh, but now! The St. Louis Cardinals are the league's biggest disappointment when it was supposed to be their "year." Though they're still not out of the NL Central race since it's only mid-June in the NL Central is bad, they're 27-42 (the worst record in the NL) and eight games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Very unpleasant place to be.
Will they sell? They have about six weeks to figure it out, but they're only ahead of the A's and Royals right now, so they'll need a massive turnaround to justify keeping this crew together.
If this persists, they might be inclined to move their big names and begin a swift rebuild since Paul Goldschmidt is a free agent after 2024. Adam Wainwright, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks and Chris Stratton are hitting free agency after 2023, too. It won't be easy to fix this if things stay the same, so ... pick up the phone, Yanks!
Yankees might actually need to trade for Nolan Arenado if he's available
Enough might actually be enough for the Yankees front office based on what we're all seeing with Aaron Judge out of the lineup. Nobody cares any longer about Josh Donaldson's good defense -- his bat is abysmal and DJ LeMahieu is just as good of a third baseman. If the Yankees want to win this year, they'll find any and every way to dump Donaldson at the deadline and bring Arenado aboard if the situation presents even the most remote of possibilities.
The Yankees offense averages three runs per game without Judge and there's a big enough sample size to suggest that's the norm (and that would be dead last in MLB). And even with Judge, there's an argument to be had the offense isn't good enough. They're 28th in MLB in on-base percentage (.300) and were under that mark entering the Subway Series. They continuously whiff at pitches in the zone, don't see enough pitches, and don't attack hittable pitches.
So anybody in the tri-state area thinking Arenado wouldn't be a massive help is lost in the sauce. It helps that Hal Steinbrenner said he'd be willing to add to the payroll if another big move put the Bombers over the top. We wouldn't take that at face value, but it's better than being skittish.
We won't get into what it'll take to get Arenado in a swap with the Cards because that picture might change in the next 4-6 weeks, but it's important to know this is his current contract breakdown.
Nolan Arenado Contract Details
- 2023 - $35 million
- 2024 - $35 million
- 2025 - $32 million
- 2026 - $27 million
- 2027 - $15 million
If the Yankees can dump Donaldson and Luis Severino at the trade deadline, that'll save them some cash. If not, those two come off the books after 2023, in addition to Frankie Montas, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Wandy Peralta (totaling another ~$17 million). And luckily for New York, they won't have many prohibitive rising arbitration costs on their hands next season.
If there was ever a time to do this, it's now, because the championship window needs to stop periodically slamming shut in the wind. It needs stronger hinges to remain open.