St. Louis Cardinals: The Nolan Arenado deal is official
Nolan Arenado has officially been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
While this may seem like old news, nothing is done until it passes the desk of the league office. For the St. Louis Cardinals, it wasn’t until late Monday night that third baseman Nolan Arenado was officially a member of the Cardinals.
While the deal was first reported Friday night, it took a weekend and then some to work out the fine details of this extremely complex trade.
Initially, the names rumored to be going back to Colorado were Austin Gomber, Jhon Torres, Luken Baker, Angel Rondon, and Jake Woodford. When the deal was officially approved, it turns out only one of these names was included when the deal was made official.
Looking at this package, Austin Gomber is already in the MLB as we know, Mateo Gil last played in A-ball, Elehuris Montero is a former Midwest League MVP but hasn’t been healthy in recent years, Tony Locey is a tall lefty with a good arm, and Jake Sommers is mostly a throw-in.
As far as MLB Pipeline’s ranks of these players, Montero is No. 8, Gil is 19, and Locey is 22. A prospect’s ranking isn’t everything, but giving up one fringe top 10 player and two fringe top 20 players for what the Cardinals are getting is not much.
Baseball America will have better prospect reports than I can do on who the Cardinals are sending back, but the main point here is that Montero isn’t in their top 10 prospects.
Gomber is considered the centerpiece of the deal (even if it could be argued for other players) but he will be the most missed player from fans given his experience at the MLB level. We all wish Gomber and the rest of the players heading to Colorado good luck.
As for the other specifics, Arenado will get another year added to the back end of his deal for $15M in 2027 (his age-36 season). Along with that, he gets the ability to opt-out after both the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Before starting to worry about him opting out, don’t forget that the Rockies are pitching in money. The final tally coming from the Rockies will be $51M, with $35M of that coming in 2021 to pay his salary. The rest of the $16M will be spread out over the rest of his deal.
This gets slightly complex, as Arenado is deferring $20M of the $35M he is owed, leaving his actual salary at $15M as I understand it.
If Arenado opts out after this season, the Rockies paid for his salary for the time he was here and the Cardinals gave up very little. I wouldn’t think the likelihood of him opting out is high at all right now, but the team is protected if he does.
John Mozeliak will introduce Arenado in a zoom call at 11:00 AM CT on Tuesday, but he got his small, “I told you so,” moment in this statement from Monday night. He asked for patience, he asked fans to trust the plan, and this is what the reward is.
Some Twitter users with checkmarks attempted to make this trade appear as though it was in danger of falling through early on Monday evening. If there were “intense moments” over the weekend, it got done in the end.
With the news that the MLB is planning to start on time without a DH or expanded playoffs also coming out on Monday night, it appears that St. Louis Cardinals fans won’t have long to wait to see their new third baseman on the field.