Once again, Nolan Arenado expressed his love for the St. Louis Cardinals.
There are no indications that Nolan Arenado will opt out of his contract after the 2021 season. But the question of whether he will do so following after the 2022 season looms as a realistic possibility if the St. Louis Cardinals are not contending for a World Series.
But with the Cardinals surging into a playoff spot in recent weeks, and the team already committing to Yadier Molina for 2022, Arenado is in the situation he has long desired after eight losing seasons with the Colorado Rockies. And when asked about his future by Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Arenado made it clear that while he would be open to playing closer to play in California, where he lives in the offseason, that he is very happy in St. Louis.
“I think it would be pretty special to go home and play, but that comes with a lot of tickets and a lot of other things, a lot of distractions,” Arenado said. “We’ll see. I love St. Louis. I would like to be here for a long time. Once they are sick of me, whenever that is, maybe it would be pretty cool to go home and play baseball for sure.”
It’s hard to imagine that the Cardinals will ever get sick of Arenado, 30, considering what he has brought to the franchise since being acquired this offseason. He offers them credibility and the face of their new era when Molina and Adam Wainwright eventually retire. He presents an elite bat, hitting .256/.311/.503 with 32 home runs and 99 RBI, in a season that Arenado says has been “frustrating” at times.
Of course, the batting average is among the lowest of his career. But Arenado remains an incredibly effective player and, as manager Mike Shildt recently alluded to, is on the verge of a breakout. Arenado is hitting .304/.385/.783 with three home runs and eight RBI in the last seven days, leading the Cardinals’ surge to the lead for the second National League wild card spot.
Considering his most recent comments, Arenado is a near lock to return to St. Louis in 2022. That has always been the case. But if the Cardinals continue to contend, the next couple seasons could only be the beginning of an extended stint with the organization.
And that’s exactly what they envisioned and hoped for when acquiring Arenado in the first place.