Cardinals trade for Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado

After talks picked up on Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals have traded for Nolan Arenado.

Arenado has long voiced his displeasure with the rebuild in Colorado, especially given the direction general manager Jeff Bridich is taking the franchise. Well, the St. Louis Cardinals are headed the opposite way.

With teams in the NL Central making very little headway in terms of offseason moves to improves before late this week, the Cardinals have brought back Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, and now added one of the best power bats in the game in Arenado.

Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the move.

What can the Rockies expect in return for Nolan Arenado?

This depends purely on how much money is going back to St. Louis in the deal. If the move was a financial one for Colorado, then it will significantly decrease the prospect capitol they get back.

The exact package has yet to be confirmed, but Rosenthal is speculating.

By adding Arenado, the Cardinals have confirmed their status as not just NL Central power, but in the World Series conversation as well. Kolten Wong is still on the market, and it’s hard to see the Cardinals not rounding out their infield by bringing back a capable second baseman as well.

Should the players mentioned above be the main return, then no prospect ranks higher than ninth in the Cardinals system (Torres). Luken Baker is 23rd, per MLB Pipeline, and at 23 years old better be near MLB-ready.

While that return seems lite on the surface, Arenado may have put the Rockies between a rock and a hard place. By not waiving his opt-out, per Rosenthal, Arenado’s value decreases as he can hit free agency both next offseason and the year after. It allows him to reach peak market value financially, but gives little control to the team acquiring him (in this case the Cardinals).