My headline here is kind of misleading. It is true, there are rumors the Cardinals are interested in Nolan Arenado, it is more based on the club’s previously reported interest in the third baseman and some speculation by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. There are a few teams interested in Arenado and a trade for him seems less unlikely by the day. The Rockies are listening to offers.
The Rangers are the team showing the biggest interest in Nolan Arenado. Rosenthal notes in his reporting though that other teams have been talking to the Rockies as well. Could one of those teams be the Cardinals? For the sake of some fun, let’s pretend that is the case for now.
Nolan Arenado would be a huge get for the Cardinals, production-wise and salary-wise. Over the course of his seven-season career his combination of defensive excellence and career 120 wRC+ at the plate has propelled him to over 31 fWAR. Since 2015 he has led in National League third basemen in Assists, Double Plays turned, and Putouts. Since 2013 he has led NL third basemen in range (per Baseball References Range Factor). He has won a Gold Glove every season he has spent in the majors.
This combined with his offensive skill — which we have not even discussed — earned him a hefty payday. In 2019 the 28-year-old agreed to a seven-year, $260 million contract extension with the Rockies. Also with the agreement was a little ole No Trade Clause. There is little word on what teams Arenado might be interested in waiving his NTC for, but making the playoffs in 2019 might have helped the Cardinals look a little more attractive to a star third baseman.
Assuming this all something the Cardinals would be willing to take on, there is one last element to consider: the prospect cost. Even with the expensive the contract, the Rockies would want something back, likely highly-touted prospects. This is where it gets tough. Nolan Gorman or Dylan Carlson, among others, would likely be going to Colorado in this completely hypothetical situation. Perhaps Jordan Hicks, though injured, would be a player the Rockies are interested in.
So let’s make a deal for Nolan Arenado. What would you offer?
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