• Eli Chapman

Rockies Nolan Arenado now has closure ~ St. Louis Cardinals move forward


St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado subject of many trade rumors this offseason. (Photo credit: Adam Glanzman, MLB Photo via Getty Images @2019 Major League Baseball Photos)

BASEBALL SCUTTLEBUTT RUMORS


One of the hottest and largely discussed trade possibility in the MLB this offseason. That of the St. Louis Cardinals in trade talks with the Colorado Rockies regarding their third baseman, Nolan Arenado.


"In the beginning", Arenado stated his "interest" in the St. Louis Cardinals. Or, even the Chicago Cubs in his future. Which, allowed the MLB brush fire to begin. I do feel the Cardinals were in fact in contact with the Rockies, which lent to continued 'coverage'.


Speculations made regarding Cardinals players/prospects needed to package such a deal. Pitcher Dakota Hudson, infielder Matt Carpenter, utility Tommy Edman. Prospects Nolan Gorman, Dylan Carlson, Andrew Knizner and Lane Thomas were collectively the main names thrown in the hat of possibles in such a trade. Even Cardinals flipping newly acquired prospect left-handed pitcher, Matt Liberatore. A trade which sent Cardinals 1B/PH/OF Jose Martinez and prospect OF Randy Arozarena to the Tampa Bay Rays.


The remaining money left on the contract of Arenado, $234 MM, for the next six seasons, earliest free agency in 2026. His opt-out clause in 2021. His "no-trade" clause. The latter two speedbumps to be ironed out.


In recent days, reports of 'unrest' between the Rockies organization and their extremely talented third baseman.


Rockies issuing a statement that they would not be trading Arenado. And, Arenado coming out with a rebuttal of his own 'unhappiness' with the Rockies, feeling "disrespected" by the organization.


TIME HAS COME TO ALLOW ARENADO HIS DUE ~ PLAY IN PEACE


In the past day, Arenado put to rest his firey statement(s) with a "statement to his fans".


"DENVER -- Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado issued a statement to fans on Wednesday night saying his quotes earlier this week were “out of character,” and that he would not speak on his situation with the Rockies anymore."


In a nutshell, Nolan Arenado will concentrate on the upcoming season. To be the effective player he has been for the "Rox". No trade talks to continue by the Rockies organization. And, more importantly, what was is part of the past. I'm presuming not only the Cardinals, but this new light also includes the reported trade interest by the Texas Rangers. In my opinion, now the MLB talking heads may take this off their "Hot Stove" subject matter of speculation list.


Following the 'whole picture', I believe a rare statement made by Arenado was due to a high level of frustration. Not one by the usually 'private person' that he is.


Let's all allow Nolan Arenado to his future. To allow him the peace in knowing that any further speculation has come to an end. He has made his statement, his path is clear. He will continue his career with the Colorado Rockies. Should that change in 2021? We all will just have to wait to find out if Arenado decides to opt-out.


For now, the albatross has been removed from his shoulders.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ARE MOVING FORWARD


The Cardinals are currently at a $170 MM payroll. For chairman Bill DeWitt Jr that is where it will remain to open the upcoming 2020 season. I don't look for him to push the bubble to begin the season. Trade deadline of mid-season? Always a possibility.


Yes, the disgruntled will voice their same 'beat the dead horse' statements that he and the Cardinals organization are "cheap" and really don't care. Now or at mid-season. Fans are still looking for a solid closer. They feel another solid bat is needed for clean-up behind Paul Goldschmidt.


I agree to disagree to a certain extent. Yes, I would like to know 'who' Cardinals closer will be. But a bat for Big Bucks? Not so much on that as I, no not with rose-colored glasses, believe we have the offense.


What fans do not realize, or want to take into consideration is all the responsibilities of the organization. Very few are not privy in truly knowing the player(s), personally and professionally, who are available. Fans dislike hearing, 'we will work from with-in our organization'. Just the list above, who were being considered as trade chips, to me is an encouraging group.


Surprisingly, many fans don't like having 'rookies' in the mainstream. Which amazes me. They play with heart and soul, while bringing new life to a team. Tommy Edman and Lane Thomas (even with a brief stay) proved that to be true to that statement last season. They have the capability. They have drive, confidence and read major league pitchers well.


Cardinals signed Korean LHP Gwang-hyun Kim. "He was voted as the 2019 Best Pitcher after leading the KBO in quality starts (24) while ranking second in wins and strikeouts; and third in ERA and innings pitched." (KMOX.com) We will see his ability very soon.


All fans know are the players on 'the field of the past'. They rarely seek to 'look outside the box'. My contention is, if a 'rookie' is not allowed to play, to show their strength on a major league field - where do they go to gain such experience?


The disgruntled are believers in 'must have experience' type of fans. Is that all wrong, not at all. Certainly has it's benefits.


But, if one has ever interviewed for a new job and been told, "sorry you don't have enough experience". You know how deflating that is. You know you would be able to do the job if 'given the chance".


And who is to say, out of our young players, we do not have an 'Arenado', Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor or even a Nicholas Castellanos among them? I say Cardinals do, and more than just 'one'.


SPRING TRAINING COMING SOON.


MLB Spring training camps will be opening soon across the country. February 11-12 for pitchers and catchers to report in. February 17-18 for position players and MiLB invitees to report in. Full workouts will ensue once all are accounted for.


I feel the St. Louis Cardinals Spring is going to be exciting. The competition among all positions ~ well save catcher. I'm thinking Cardinals veteran catcher Yadier Molina has that 'locked'. Looking for Matt Wieters, signed for his second season with the club, to be his back-up.


In the near future, we will be able to see our prospects - future 'rookies' - perform. And, I believe some fans will be very surprised with their performances. How many will make the Opening Day roster? That we definitely will have to 'wait and see'. However, I feel, we have two that are solid candidates, CF Lane Thomas (24) who will challenge CF Harrison Bader (25-3 career seasons) and RF/CF Dexter Fowler (33). And left field, OF Dylan Carlson (21) will challenge OF Tyler O'Neill (24) for the opportunity. And, 'possible' 3B Nolan Gorman (19) may prove to be a stronger competitor even at his young age to via over 3B Matt Carpenter (34). Or, will utility Tommy Edman (24) earn 'everyday' play at the left corner bag in his second season?


FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Just a thought on my part; but, wasn't Bryce Harper 19 years old when he was given his opportunity to 'break into the majors'? To gain his experience? 'Just sayin'.


Yes, Cardinals Spring is going to be very interesting, in my opinion with a few who will pleasantly surprise those watching.


Thanks for reading. You may also follow me on Twitter, @elichap822.

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