By Patrick Kelly
Rumors of a possible deal have been swirling around for years, but after a long wait the St. Louis Cardinals have acquired third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies. Although the deal still needs approval from MLB and the players union, the Cardinals have appeared to get the blockbuster piece that they needed.
While the exact details of the trade are not known according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who originally broke the story, the deal apparently includes $50 million to the Cardinals from the Rockies to the Cardinals in exchange for pitching prospect Austin Gomber, first basemen Luken Baker, outfielder Jhon Torres, and also could include pitchers Jake Woodford or Angel Rondon. The trade itself might not be finalized until the end of the weekend. Also part of the deal is Arenado would waive the no-trade clause that is in his contract, but it would then remain once he joins the Cardinals. Rosenthal also reported that an opt-out clause after the 2021 season would remain in the contract and that another opt-out could be added in 2022.
Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million contract with the Rockies in February 2019, and the remaining six years is worth $199 million.
On the day Cardinals fans were recovering from the Wainwright re-signing, general manager John Mozeliak executed one of the best moves of his career in an offseason where it looked like the Cardinals were going to be pretty quiet.
There have also been reports that catcher Yadier Molina will re-sign with the Cardinals and that second baseman Kolten Wong is still in play after the Cardinals declined the $12.5 million option on his contract for 2021.
The Cardinals suddenly have a team that not only stands out in the NL Central, but is one of the few teams that improved in the division. With the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers having lost big pieces or with possible trades looming, it would appear the division at this point is the Cardinals to lose in 2021.