I promise you, no matter how many times we say it, Nolan Arenado's name will likely still be a part of trade rumors this winter. Why? Because other teams will always have interest. Some will call the Cardinals and ask about him. Rarely, John Mozeliak may even listen for a few moments. Then before you know it, the Cardinals will have "reportedly" listened to offers on him.
I'm not sure why it's so hard for national media to grasp (which I wrote about recently) that the Cardinals will be preparing for a postseason run in 2024, and that Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt will both be critical parts of that push. The notion that trading either or both of them for assets and then signing starting pitchers would make the team better is just maddening.
My hope is that by the time the Cardinals start making their first offseason moves, it will be clear to the league that they are not going to blow this up, and instead, they are going to reload in light of the mistakes they have made this past year. As crazy as that idea sounds to some people, it makes way too much sense for St. Louis, and as the weeks go on, I become more and more confident in that plan.
The second half was always going to be a disappointment after the Cardinals traded away significant contributors from a team that was already razor-thin pitching-wise. Not only have they dealt with more trips to the IL (see Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, Steven Matz, Ryan Helsley, Dylan Carlson, etc.), but they've also decided to be more cautious with player's aliments, and so we have seen increased playing time from the likes of Taylor Motter, Riche Palacios, Jose Fermin, Casey Lawrence, and others who will likely not be on the roster in 2024.
That's not to say this club isn't concerning me with their lack of offensive output lately, and yes, there is a huge task awaiting the front office this offseason to rebuild the club, but I can't imagine this club being in a better position without Arenado for the future of the club.
Still, media and other fanbases will continue to try and connect the dots for an Arenado trade, stating that it would "jump-start the Cardinals' retool" and help them upgrade their pitching staff. Instead, the Cardinals will look to do that through the free agent and creative trades not involving Arenado, so that their lineup can be one of the best in baseball in 2024.
The headlines will be annoying, the chatter will be tiresome, but rest assured, Nolan Arenado is not going anywhere this offseason and remains a key part of the Cardinals' future in 2024 and beyond.