By Shane Gravlin
The Cardinals just did a cannonball into the deep end. That’s right, they made a splash. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Colorado Rockies are sending their long time third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals. The deal is pending approval from both MLB and players’ union, but is expected to be finalized in the coming days.
A lot of people on social media were calling it a blockbuster trade, but it feels more like the Cardinals got away with highway robbery instead. The impact Nolan Arenado will have on this club is immense. Here’s a guy that hits 30+ home runs a year, drives in at least 100 runs perennially, and makes dozens of jaw-dropping snags at the hot corner each season. The acquisition of Goldschmidt in 2018 felt big, but there hasn’t been a player with this much talent to wear the Birds on the Bat since Albert Pujols.
The deal leaves the Rockies in shambles and the Cardinals with a legitimately impressive roster that should win the division. Colorado didn’t get any MLB players back in the deal, nor did they even receive one of the Cardinals’ top five prospects. Worst of all for the Rockies, they’re sending an additional $50 million to St. Louis for his contract, a significantly large amount of cash. That means the Cardinals, out of their own pocketbook, will only owe Arenado $10 million for his services in 2021.
Names possibly heading to the Mile High City to play for the Rockies include LHP Austin Gomber, 1B Luken Baker, OF Jhon Torres, and maybe RHP Jake Woodford and RHP Angel Rondón. Only two of those players have ever seen MLB action, Gomber and Woodford, but both were extremely limited and played minimally. Essentially, the Cardinals just got a top ten player in baseball, plus $50 million, and only had to give up a couple of mid to low-level prospects to do so.
Arenado still has to officially waive his no-trade clause to be dealt, but he said publicly that he’d be willing to do that if it meant playing for a contender, and there are no doubts that he will accept the trade.
On Rockies-related social media pages, fans were calling for the firing of their general manager Jeff Bridich. Interestingly, just two offseasons ago, Bridich and the Rockies front office were able to agree on a maximum extension with Arenado in the neighborhood of eight years for $260 million, but was conditional on the Rockies building around the all-star. When that didn’t happen and the Rockies missed the playoffs consecutively in 2019 and 2020 after qualifying for them in 2017 and 2018, Arenado grew disgruntled with the management and trade rumors had been speculating for months leading up to the Cardinals stealing him.
On the Cardinals-related social media pages, however, fans praised the work of President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, with one user commenting “MO, I’m so, so sorry for doubting you. Let’s get this ring!!!”
It’s a deal that generates excitement in St. Louis, true despair in Colorado, and implications for the rest of Major League Baseball. An infield with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt on the corners is a scary thing to imagine, and if the Cardinals can manage to entice second baseman Kolten Wong to come back now, that’s a pretty threatening team.
The Cardinals are slated to begin spring training in the next few weeks in Florida, while the Rockies will get their start soon in Arizona.
Edited by Emma Moloney