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:
BREAKING: Cardinals have agreed to acquire Nolan Arenado from Rockies, sources tell @TheAthletic. Deal pending approval from both MLB and players’ union; Rockies sending Cardinals significant cash, believed to be in $50M range, and Arenado will be deferring money.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 30, 2021
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.
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
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.