NL central teams hadn’t done much during the offseason until the cardinals get to work on Friday night.
St. Louis has reportedly agreed to acquire Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado from a trade. Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Colorado will also send the cards around $ 50 million and that Arenado will postpone his salary. The deal could take days to complete as it is pending approval by Arenado, MLB and the Players Association as well as Physics.
Rosenthal reported that Arenado will retain his ability to opt out of his contract after the 2021 season, get a second opt-out for 2022 and keep his no-trade clause with the Cardinals if the move goes through. MLB Network Jon Heyman reported later on Friday that Arenado will receive an additional year on his contract, at $ 15 million, in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause in exchange for a move to St. Louis.
The added season means Arenado will now be liable for $ 214 million until the 2027 season. Arenado signed an eight-year, $ 260 million extension with Colorado in February 2019.
Beyond the financial intrigue, there is also a baseball move to analyze. The Cardinals are clearly winning in the short term by adding one of the best third baseman in the National League and improving on an offense that finished 14th among 15 NL clubs in points scored last season. Arenado, 29, will be placed in the middle of the Order of Cardinals alongside Paul Goldschmidt.
Arenado produced a .937 OPS in the full five seasons immediately leading up to the shortened 2020 campaign, but fans largely dismiss those numbers because he plays his home games at Coors Field. His career between home and road is austere: .985 at home, .793 on the road in about the same number of appearances on the board.
But even if his stats move down the range with St. Louis, the Cardinals will still welcome what he offers, given the team’s 2020 third baseman Matt Carpenter and Tommy Edman were both less than 0.700 in OPS.
The reported return to the Rockies doesn’t appear to include any of the Cardinals’ best prospects; instead, southpaw Austin Gomber appears to be the main player heading for Colorado. But that move is mostly about saving money and using Arenado’s money to keep Trevor Story short, who can become a free agent after the 2021 season.
Gomber, 27, excelled last season for St. Louis with a 1.86 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 frames. He made four starts in September, allowing a run in 15 2/3 innings and 14 total appearances. He was a member of the Cardinals’ rotation for the last two months of the 2018 season as a rookie. Gomber spent the 2019 season in minors and was limited to 49 2/3 innings for the year due to bicep and shoulder issues.
There were conflicting reports Friday night on who else will be treated in Colorado.
This article has been updated with new information and additional analysis.