UPDATE: The trade is now official.
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Nolan Arenado is the newest member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
As reported by Ken Rosenthal, the Rockies are sending the Cardinals “significant cash, believed to be in the $50 million range.” There’s no official word on any prospect returns for the Rox, but Rosenthal floated some names:
Names possibly going to Rockies include LHP Austin Gomber, 1B Luken Baker, OF Jhon Torres. Return also might include RHP Jake Woodford or RHP Angel Rondón. Exact package not confirmed. https://t.co/QJaMyyxLwP— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 30, 2021
Arenado’s tenure in Colorado is complete after eight seasons. He slashed a career .293/.349/.541 with the Rockies, collecting five All-Star appearances (2015-2019), four Platinum Glove awards (2017-2020) and a Top 10 finish in NL MVP voting in five of the past six years (including a Top 3 finish in 2018). He ranks fourth in all-time bWAR with the Rockies (39.1), but his time in Denver has not fulfilled his desire to compete for championships. The 29-year-old has five postseason games to his name.
The Rockies intended to keep Arenado in uniform through at least 2026 following a $260 million extension signed in March 2019. A key feature in the eight-year deal was a no-trade clause intended to secure Arenado as a lifelong Rockie. It was instead an opt-out clause that stole the conversation after the Rockies posted a 71-91 record in 2019. It led to ongoing dismay with a lack of team contention, igniting trade talks just months after inking his long-term deal.
Arenado would have been able to walk from his deal with the Rockies after the 2021 season, a factor that may have easily prompted the front office to pursue any kind of return while Arenado remained under club control. Colorado would need to outperform many projections in 2021 for his postseason desires to be satisfied in a tough NL West.
The Rockies will now have to identify a new face of the franchise. With this trade, however, comes an abundance of financial freedom, as the Rockies no longer owe $35 million per year for their third baseman. Prior to the trade, Arenado’s 2021 salary made up 27 percent of the Rockies’ payroll.
Arenado will now join former NL West standout first baseman Paul Goldschmidt with the Cardinals. The Rockies are scheduled to visit St. Louis from June 7-9; Arenado’s first game as a visitor at Coors Field is scheduled for July 1.
Purple Row will continue to update this developing story.