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Cardinals nearing deal to acquire Nolan Arenado from Rockies, per report

The Cardinals instantly establish themselves as favorites to win the NL Central.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals are reportedly nearing a deal to acquire third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Rockies, finally bringing credence to a rumor that has been floated for several offseasons. Ken Rosenthal was the first to report news of the deal — a complicated one that is still awaiting approval from the commissioner’s office and the MLBPA:

While he wasn’t great during the shortened 2020 season — understandable, as he spent most of the season playing through shoulder pain — the 29-year-old Arenado is one of the biggest stars of his era. He’s a five-time All-Star, an eight-time Gold Glove winner (including four Platinum Gloves), and a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He’s a .293/.349/.541 career hitter and has hit 37 or more homers in his last five 162-game seasons.

The Rockies are pushing hard to get Arenado off their hands, sending the Cardinals cash believed to be in the range of $50 million, per Rosenthal. As has been the case basically every time one of the sport’s top stars has been traded over the past year, the Cardinals won’t be giving up a significant prospect package to acquire Arenado.

Per Rosenthal, the players under consideration to head to Colorado include Austin Gomber, a 27-year-old lefty who has mostly pitched out of the bullpen but enjoyed brief success as a starter at the tail end of a stellar 2020 season; Luken Baker, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound first baseman who is the Cards’ No. 23 prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline but has yet to play above High-A; and Jhon Torres, a 20-year-old outfielder who is ranked as the Cardinals’ No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline and has yet to play above Class A. Others who could be included are right-hander Jake Woodford, who struggled in his first taste of the big leagues in 2020, and Angel Rondón, a hard-throwing right-hander who is ranked as St. Louis No. 13 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

For Colorado, this deal seemingly indicates that they’re ready to dive into a full rebuild, though they’ll still need to figure out what to do with shortstop Trevor Story, who is set to become a free agent after this season.