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Arenado to Cardinals happening, maybe?

The Rockies and the Cardinals have either agreed to a Nolan Arenado trade, or are close, depending on who you believe

MLB: AUG 16 Rangers at Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A trade of Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies to the St. Louis Cardinals has either been agreed to, or is close and is still being worked on, or is still being discussed but isn’t done yet, depending on the reports you believe.

Reports indicate that a deal, if it does happen, would have Arenado waiving his no trade clause to go to the St. Louis Cardinals, keeping his opt out for after the 2021 season, getting an opt out for after the 2022 season, deferring some cash, and keeping his no trade rights otherwise. The Rockies would be getting some prospects, though the names being mentioned aren’t all that exciting, and is reportedly kicking in somewhere around $50 million to move Arenado.

Arenado, who turns 30 in April, is coming off a down year, has been publicly feuding with the team’s general manager, and is due $35 million per year for the next four years, then $32 million in 2025 and $27 million in 2026. The combination has the Rockies, who are not good, motivated to move Arenado.

Arenado was, prior to 2020, a consistent 6-7 win per year guy, and despite last years struggles he’s still one of the top third basemen in the game. His trade value is complicated by the opt out after 2021, however — if you’re trading for Arenado, you are either getting a guy whose contract has surplus value, in which case he would opt out after 2021, or whose contract doesn’t have surplus value, in which case you are not going to be looking to give up significant value to land him.

Presumably the money the Rockies are kicking in would be paid only for the post-opt-out seasons, much like the Miami Marlins subsidy of the Giancarlo Stanton contract. For Arenado, if he does get another opt out after 2022, that would be a pretty nice get on his part — two years of elite level play, and a 2022-23 offseason where there’s a new CBA (removing concerns about that uncertainty) and, one would assume, a post-pandemic world, could mean a better opportunity to get a better deal.

In any case, we will keep watching and see how this plays out.