By Rob Rains
Nolan Arenado is officially a Cardinal.
Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association signed off on the trade on Monday night, allowing the Cardinals to acquire the eight-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star from the Rockies.
The trade needed approval because of the money that the Rockies included in the trade to help offset the $199 million Arenado was owed for the next six seasons. The Rockies reportedly are sending $50 million to the Cardinals.
Arenado, 29, can opt out of the contract after either the 2021 or 2022 season. He also received a one-year contract extension for the 2027 season.
“Today we got better,” said John Mozeliak, the Cardinals president of baseball operations in the team’s press release announcing the trade. “A deal of this nature, acquiring a player of Nolan’s considerable talents, are the ones that can set you apart in so many ways.
“It certainly shows the commitment of Mr. (Bill) DeWitt and ownership to continue to give our great fans a team that aims to win – both now and in the future.”
Left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber is the headline player going to the Rockies along with four minor leaguers – third baseman Elehuris Montero, infielder Mateo Gil and pitchers Tony Locey and Jake Sommers.
Montero was ranked 11th by STLSportsPage.com on the list of the Cardinals organization’s top prospects, the best prospect included in the deal.
Gomber has been both a starter and reliever for the Cardinals but was considered available for the trade because of the team’s pitching depth. He would have gone to spring training as a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Word of the trade broke on Friday night, hours after the Cardinals announced the re-signing of pitcher Adam Wainwright to a one-year contract, their first move to add a major-league roster this winter.
It also is expected that the team will announce the re-signing of catcher Yadier Molina to a one-year deal in the next few days. Molina is currently playing in the Caribbean Series, where he hit a home run for Puerto Rico in their win over Venezuela on Monday.
Arenado, a second round pick of the Rockies in 2009, has won the Gold Glove each of his eight seasons in the majors and also is a four-time winner of the Platinum Award, given by Rawlings to the top defender in the NL regardless of position.
Arenado also has won four Silver Slugger awards, has led the NL in home runs three times and has finished in the top five in NL MVP voting five times.
The Cardinals are scheduled to hold a zoom press conference with Arenado at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
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Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports