Last night, news broke that the St. Louis Cardinals had a deal in place to acquire star third baseman, Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies.
BREAKING: Cardinals have agreed to acquire Nolan Arenado from Rockies, sources tell @TheAthletic. Deal pending approval from both MLB and players’ union; Rockies sending Cardinals significant cash, believed to be in $50M range, and Arenado will be deferring money.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 30, 2021
Cardinals gave up the equivalent of a bag of baseballs in return for one of the top third basemen in all of baseball. This deal was not a surprise. Arenado has been involved in trade rumors for what seems like forever. He joins Francisco Lindor in the group of star players getting a new home via trade. In addition to Lindor and Arenado, who will be the next big name on the move via trade?
With Nolan Arenado out of Colorado, it feels inevitable that they will deal star shortstop Trevor Story as well. Story has been one of the most offensively productive shortstops since he made his debut in 2016. He has accumulated 21.0 WAR over the course of his career as he has been an above replacement-level player on both sides of the ball his entire career. He does all things well with the bat. Not only does he hit for power, but also hits for a decent average as well. There aren’t many players in today’s game that possess his power and hit for that kind of an average.
Where could a player like Story land? I don’t see many National League teams bidding for his services as they are either in rebuild mode, in the Rockies division, or already set at SS. Perhaps the Angels make a move for Story after Andrelton Simmons departed in free agency. Or maybe even the Yankees so Glebyer Torres is not their everyday SS and the transition to 1B can start earlier for him. There are not many suitors for Story’s services right now, but look for his market to heat up as Spring Training approaches.
The other star third baseman who has been popping up in trade rumors is Kris Bryant. Other than 2016, the Cubs have been a disappointing team since Bryant made his debut in 2015. The Cubs looked like they were set up for continued success but have failed to live up to expectations. Bryant’s name has been popping up in trade rumors all offseason with teams like the Mets, Braves, and Nationals being potential suitors. As the resident Mets fan at Couch Guy, I would prefer the Mets focus on extending Lindor and Conforto while leaving the top of their farm system intact rather than trade for Bryant. However, that means the Nationals and Braves may be able to make a run. That would be a super fun infield to watch in Atlanta with Bryant at 3B, Dansby Swanson at SS, Ozzie Albies at 2B, and Freddie Freeman at 1B.
I would not be surprised if Bryant is not the only Cub on the move soon. The Cubs may look to deal Javy Baez and Wilson Contreras as well before this season’s trade deadline.
There are some other big name players who are entering the final year before they hit free agency. However, some of those names include Corey Seager and Carlos Correa and I do not think their respective teams will be looking to move those players as they are both on World Series Contenders. My prediction is that both Story and Bryant will be the next two star players to be traded with Story before opening day and Bryant prior to the trade deadline (along with Baez and Contreras).
Nolan Arenado makes the Cardinals the favorite in the National League Central as the entire division was sitting dormant until yesterday. The Cardinals seem to be the only team in that division making moves to contend this season so don’t be surprised if they run away with this division. This trade will be very complicated as it included a no-trade clause, an opt-out, and $50 million to the Cardinals.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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