Will The Rockies Trade Nolan Arenado (www.mlb.com)

Nolan Arenado has been a central figure on the trade market for the past year, but is the All-Star third baseman’s time in Colorado finally coming to an end?
The Cardinals are in discussions with the Rockies about Arenado, according to a report from MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, who

Nolan Arenado has been a central figure on the trade market for the past year, but is the All-Star third baseman’s time in Colorado finally coming to an end?

The Cardinals are in discussions with the Rockies about Arenado, according to a report from MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, who writes on The Athletic that Arenado “likely would waive his no-trade clause” to approve a deal to St. Louis.

Talks between the Rockies and Cardinals have gained momentum during the past week, a source told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi. The Braves have also checked in about acquiring Arenado, according to Rosenthal.

That said, this deal is far from imminent.

According to a source, the report is “a bit more urgent than reality,” stressing that talks of this nature occur frequently. The Rockies have been fielding calls from teams inquiring about Arenado for several months, and while no deal with the Cardinals is imminent by any means, the source added, “These kinds of things either never happen or happen very quickly.”

Arenado has six years and $199 million remaining on his contract, but an opt-out clause following the 2021 season complicates the issue for an acquiring club beyond simply taking on the remainder of his deal.

“I think the slow-moving market has more to do with this kind of talk than anything else,” the source said. “It would be really difficult to make a deal happen with him involved, for a ton of reasons.”

The Cardinals — or any club trading for Arenado — could conceivably ask the third baseman to adjust the opt-out clause before making a deal. For instance, if he was to agree to move the opt-out until the end of the 2022 season, it would guarantee that he would be with his new team for at least two years, avoiding the possibility of a team giving up a haul to acquire him with the risk of him leaving at the end of this season.

That type of arrangement would be allowed as long as it didn’t devalue Arenado’s contract, so the acquiring team would likely need to provide something in return, such as an extra option year, a trade assignment bonus or some other restructuring of the contract.

In order to take on Arenado’s contract, the Cardinals would likely require the Rockies to take back a contract or two in the deal. Matt Carpenter is owed $18.5 million this season and has an $18.5 million option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout, while Dexter Fowler is owed $14.5 million this season. Both players have a no-trade clause in their contract, however, potentially complicating matters further. Andrew Miller and Carlos Martínez are the other Cards players with eight-figure salaries this year.

The Rockies are believed to be high on third baseman

and left-hander Matthew Liberatore, who rank as the Cardinals’ Nos. 2 and 3 prospects (and No. 37 and 38 overall in MLB), respectively, according to MLB Pipeline.

The Cardinals have shown no indication that they are willing to take on a contract of Arenado’s magnitude, though it should be noted that St. Louis has just $51 million committed in payroll for 2022, with more than $42 million of that going to Paul Goldschmidt and Miles Mikolas.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

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