Redbirds Looking for a Big Time Bat

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado after hitting a single to tie the game.

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado after hitting a single to tie the game.

Jason Steiner, Writer

The Cardinals shocked all of baseball last offseason by making a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They sent Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly and Andy Young to the Diamondbacks in exchange for the all star first baseman. This move helped put the Cardinals back into October. They fell short of the World Series by getting swept by the team that won it all, the Washington Nationals. 

The Cardinals are once again in trade talks, and this one may  be bigger than the trade they made last year. Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic has reported that the Cardinals are interested in the third baseman of the Colorado Rockies, Nolan Arenado. “The Cardinals have pieces the Rockies would value highly in a trade.” Rosenthal says.

 19 year old Nolan Gorman is a very talented 3rd baseman in the Cardinals organization and would most likely be in the return for Arenado. Fans of the Cardinals are skeptical about the news of the Cardinals being involved. “We’re rumored to get every free agent but the front office never really makes anything happen.” One student from Holt high school said. It is true that the Cardinals have had a history of “almost” getting the big guys. In 2015, the cardinals had a deal in place for David Price until the Red Sox came in last minute with a super contract offer. 

 Last offseason was the first time in a while where they were able to land the big fish in Goldschmidt. With Marcell Ozuna’s likely departure, the cardinals will need a new cleanup hitter. They could turn to shortstop Paul DeJong who has shown his power capability in recent seasons. However, lack of experience in that role may push the Cardinals to make a deal. 

President of Baseball Operations Jon Mozeliak has been committed in recent years to pushing the envelope and making big deals. However, to pull off a trade like this requires the Cardinals to overcome multiple obstacles. For starters, Arenado is owed 35 million dollars in 2020 and 199 million total being given to him between 2021 and 2026. The two sides have talked about including an older player in the deal such as Mat Carpenter or Dexter Fowler to help balance the payroll a bit. 

Another hurdle the Cardinals would have to face is the looming player opt out in 2021 for Arenado. The Redbirds only have two more guaranteed years with  Arenado if they get him before he can choose to become a free agent. If Arenado did decide to opt out, he’d be 30 years old and would be leaving nearly 200 million dollars on the table. Many people around the game feel like Arenado wouldn’t opt out of his contract, but the Cardinals aren’t going to pay for 7 years of Arenado if their just gonna get him for two. Instead, St. Louis will try to negotiate with Arenado on a deal where he’d give up his option. To do this the Cardinals would most likely have to throw in another year or increase his salary.

 The last obstacle standing in the way is Arenados no trade clause. Due to this, the Rockies must get his permission to be traded to St. Louis. Sources have said that Nolan has always admired St. Louis and the culture of the Cardinals. The high level of talent being requested by the Rockies, the added dollars to the Cardinals payroll, an opt out after the 2021 season, and the no trade clause makes this a very complicated deal for both sides. 

A deal I could see happening would be Nolan Gorman, Mat Carpenter, Dakota Hudson, and Tyler O’Neil  to the Rockies for Nolan Arenado and cash considerations. On January 14, the Twins signed 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson to a 4 year deal. The Braves and Nationals were two teams who were heavily interested in the righty bat. 

“The braves could end up turning to either Arenado or 3rd baseman Kris Bryant of the Cubs. They’d probably prefer Arenado and have a farm system that could get it done” former GM Dan O’dowd says on MLB Network. The  Rangers, Braves, Cubs, and the Cardinals are the most likely destinations and a decision by the Rockies must be made soon due to the upcoming spring training.