If Nolan Arenado is to be traded, an unpopular Cardinals trade should provide the framework

If the Cardinals are sellers at the trade deadline, they'll likely trade off some big pieces, with Nolan Arenado being a possibility. However, if this is to happen, the Cardinals will need to pull a page out of their 2008 book, when an unpopular trade was made.
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals / Scott Kane/GettyImages

January 14, 2008 was a sad day in Cardinal Nation.

Due to an ongoing feud with then-manager Tony La Russa, Scott Rolen was traded from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays in exchange for Troy Glaus. It was certainly an unpopular trade, but La Russa and Rolen were unable to resolve their differences.

Such doesn't appear to be the case right now with Oli Marmol and Nolan Arenado, fortunately. Arenado often talks about how he enjoys playing in St. Louis, and you never hear him say anything bad about Oli.

However, even with the Cardinals playing better baseball, they're not out of the woods just yet. And while I hate to be a party pooper, I still am not sure I see this team going to the postseason, which means a deadline sale is still very much on the table.

And if that happens, players like Arenado will be traded. Yes, Arenado has full no-trade protection, so that might complicate things. But Derrick Goold did say that if the team decides to sell at the deadline, "dramatic changes" would be considered.

If Arenado is to be traded though, he's likely not going to bring back a huge haul given that his power numbers have dropped, and he still has three years remaining on his contract. Given that information, it's likely going to have to be a simple swap with another team, similar to the Rolen-Glaus trade.

Potential Arenado trade could resemble Rolen-Glaus swap

Let's first look at Arenado's stats for the season. The 33-year-old is hitting .269 with just three home runs and 22 RBI. The stats aren't bad, but the power numbers aren't where they should be, and he's also coming off of a slight regression last year when he hit .266 with 26 homers and 93 RBI.

Again, those are solid, but it's a slight drop-off from the 2022 season when he was in the MVP race. So, more than likely, the package coming back to St. Louis for Arenado might not be a huge haul.

This is why it may end up being as simple as a swap, though it's hard to predict where he might go. The deadline isn't for another two months, and there don't really appear to be many teams in need of a third baseman.

The Cardinals could do something similar to what was being reported last year when it was rumored Arenado was being floated around in trade talks with the Dodgers. They could simply swap him for Max Muncy. A deal could also include one of the Dodgers' young pitchers such as Gavin Stone or Kyle Hurt.

The rumored return package appeared to be quite hefty last year, and that wouldn't be the case this year due to his power struggles. Since he isn't quite the player he once was, it's also a possibility that they could swap him with Yankees third baseman D.J. LeMahieu, which would be somewhat similar to the Rolen-Glaus trade.

These are simply hypothetical scenarios, but they are things the Cardinals can look at if they want to move Arenado. If they stay hot and remain in the picture, then there's no need to consider any of these. But it still seems likely to me that the Cardinals will be sellers at the deadline, which is why these scenarios might be on the table.

We'll see how things shake out leading up to the deadline. But if the Cardinals sell, it's likely Arenado will get flipped to another team.