St. Louis Cardinals: A weird 24 hours with Nolan Arenado

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 21: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 21: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The last 24 hours have thrown the hearts of fans following the Nolan Arenado sweepstakes back and forth. Where do the St. Louis Cardinals sit currently?

What a fun Martin Luther King Jr. Day it was for St. Louis Cardinals fans. With the team’s yearly Winter Warmup coming to a close, fans got insight from owner Bill DeWitt Jr. into the state of the team and how he saw the rest of the offseason playing out.

This was just the beginning.

It wasn’t an encouraging beginning though as DeWitt said the team was “always opportunistic” about an upgrade (of the Nolan Arenado type), they weren’t actively seeking it and that a trade of that magnitude would require some salary relief in other areas.

This was relatively known and nothing surprising to hear from the man signing the checks, but it just reiterated how difficult and complex this trade would have been.

Again, this was just the beginning.

Around 7 pm Monday, the toe tag was placed on the Arenado trade talks by Rockies’ GM Jeff Bridich.

When this came out it was honestly pretty depressing. Not that we thought that things were really going anywhere fast, but keeping the dream alive was giving fans hope and was fun to dream about, even if it was a longshot.

We knew from the beginning of the talks that the Rockies’ price for Arenado was over the moon and that the Rockies really had no motivation to move their franchise cornerstone. Even if John Mozeliak put forth an effort greater than anything he’s done before to get a trade done, we knew it still could’ve been short of the asking price of the Rockies.

Had things ended here, it would’ve made sense. However, things very quickly turned in a different direction.

This article is one of a couple that came out last night reporting these comments from Arenado. It seems he really isn’t happy with how things are being run in Colorado. Arenado has respectfully remained quiet on almost all of the speculation that he may be traded, but these comments make it seem like Bridich may have misled Arenado into thinking he would be moved.

Arenado says that trade talks aren’t the only thing that has left him feeling “crossed” about how Bridich has been running things, but it is certainly a boiling over point.

So how does this change things.

First of all, it’s too soon to know for sure about any of this. The one thing we do know is that Arenado has not let these talks die and has cut the knees out from below the Rockies position as the seller.

The Rockies can no longer demand the moon for Arenado as the relationship seems to have soured. There were maybe inklings of this before, but with this move, there is no doubt.

Paul Klee is a reporter for the Gazette in Colorado. This isn’t a fan take, this is a Rockies beat writer agreeing that Arenado has blown the lid off of pandora’s trade box.

Just like we’ve said before, if Arenado is going to get moved, the Cardinals are in a good spot to be one of the top candidates.

As was reported before, the Cardinals and Rockies were “discussing names” in a possible trade and that didn’t lead anywhere particularly productive. Now, with the Rockies almost being forced to trade their superstar, that conversation’s tone can change.

From DeWitt’s comments, it’s clear this trade doesn’t happen unless the Rockies provide some salary relief for the Cardinals. In the prior talks, there was no motivation for the Rockies to offer that to the Cardinals, now they may not be able to afford that luxury anymore.

As many mentioned on Twitter last night, this situation is beginning to get the feel of how the Giancarlo Stanton trade talks went. In that situation, everyone knew the Marlins were desperate to get Stanton and his contract off the books. That is where the Cardinals love to play.

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The Cardinals have maintained their success by not getting fleeced in trades. By holding their ground, they have held back on multiple trades that, looking back now, sapped the team without the leverage of assets that would’ve been better to keep (in hindsight).

If you’ll remember, the Cardinals knew the Marlins needed to trade Stanton, so they had the higher ground. Mo advanced talks to the point where the two sides had a deal in place, but then Stanton exercised his no-trade clause and denied the trade. That was unfortunate, but in hindsight, it worked out well. We don’t know what the deal was, but we do know the team advanced far.

With Arenado, it seems he admires the Cardinals enough to waive his no-trade clause and agree to be traded here. We don’t know that for sure but look around enough and there are positive signs.

The Cardinals described themselves as “optimistic” and this is one hell of an opportunity. If they were the leading team before last night’s fiasco, they are in an even better spot now (even if there was a roller coaster in between).

The Cardinals are going to be joined by the Rangers and possibly the Braves in their hunt, but I’m sure Mo is working hard this morning to try and capitalize on the huge “For Sale!” sign that just popped up in Colorado.

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The trade water was stirred up in a big way Monday night and it will be some time before it calms and the situation becomes clear again, but one thing is clear: Arenado is not happy in Colorado. The Rockies now have a PR nightmare and it may force them to jump ship on their star before the end of Spring Training. Hopefully the Cardinals can capitalize.