Nolan Arenado was traded from the Colorado Rockies to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night according. The deal has been in the work for months according to ESPN. It has been a full year since it was first reported that Arenado would be traded. With the Gold Glove third baseman's opt-out coming following the 2021 season, the Rockies finally pulled the trigger, sending Arenado and $50 million to St. Louis to get back relief pitcher Austin Gomber and some low-level prospects.
So the Rockies paid the Cardinals to take Arenado two years after appearing to make a significant financial investment in him and the franchise's future. The Rockies had the 11th highest payroll in 2019, the first year of Arenado's contract. They also had the sixth highest attendance in the league and finished fourth in the NL West. By trading Arenado, the Rockets are looking at $35 million less in salaries this season and that puts them under the $100 million mark and they paid $50 million for the privilege. The Los Angeles Dodgers payroll will more than double Colorado's this season.
The Rockies made the playoffs in '17 and '18, but at some point in '19, after signing that fat new contract, Arenado obviously looked around and said, what did I get myself into? Colorado could have tried to convince him they were going to try and compete again, but as the 2021 season approaches, it is clear that the Rockies would have to make some drastic moves if they actually wanted to do that. Maybe that's the disrespect that Arenado talked about before last season.
This really sucks for Rockies fans who now officially have no reason to be optimistic about this season or any others in the near future. For the foreseeable future they will be competing for third place in their own division and not much more. Colorado is in the same division as the defending World Series champion Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, who seemed to acquire every available player possible this offseason. Besides Arenado, who is now the NL Central's problem.
Why does anyone own a sports team? You get an awesome player and sign him to a big contract and five minutes later he wants out. Either by his own design or because you're pushing him out because you don't really want to pay him.
Unless you're the St. Louis Cardinals, who now have a replacement for Matt Carpenter. St. Louis made the playoffs last year and now they're upgrading from Carpenter, who just turned 35 and is coming off the worst season of his career. Meanwhile, the Rockies are starting an empty wallet at third, which is probably their best option.
UPDATE: The original version of this article stated that the Cardinals sent $50 million to the Rockies. While that would seem to make more sense, it's the other way around, which this writer finds incredible.