Why the Colorado Rockies won’t be trading Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals anytime soon

Last offseason, one of the biggest trade rumors involved the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals with Nolan Arenado as the centerpiece. But that won’t be happening anytime soon.

One of the biggest stories of last offseason was the Nolan Arenado trade rumors. There were three main teams mentioned and one of them was the St. Louis Cardinals. this offseason, at least for the Colorado Rockies, will be the status of their third baseman Nolan Arenado. Should they trade him this offseason? If they don’t, will he stay in Colorado or will he opt-out? If they do trade him, how much can the Rockies get for him and who will the Rockies trade him to?

One team that almost certainly won’t be acquiring Arenado is the St. Louis Cardinals, at least in the opinion of Cardinals beat writer Mark Saxon of The Athletic. In this piece (subscription required), Saxon shows how, like all 30 MLB teams in 2020, the Cardinals lost a lot of money in revenue due to the pandemic.

Fewer games mean less TV revenue and no fans in attendance means no revenue. In fact, the Cardinals frequently draw well nearly 3.5 million fans a season. As Saxon mentions, just by losing that revenue alone, the Cardinals lost out on more than a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue right there, or 66 percent of their estimated annual revenue, according to Forbes.

Saxon believes that the Cardinals already have a payroll that is around $140 million (it could balloon to $152 million if the Cardinals pick up their team option on Kolten Wong and over $160 million if they pick up their team option on Andrew Miller). If it is only $140 million, that’s about $22 million short of the Cardinals record for payroll and if the two options are picked up, they are already at their previous all-time high.

The Cardinals, like many other teams, have made cuts in their minor leagues and their front office. In fact, one of the cuts they made was to Bob Gebhard, who was a special assistant to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak. Gebhard is best known for being one of the only people that can claim that they were the GM of the Rockies at one point (the others being Gebhard’s predecessor Dan O’Dowd and Jeff Bridich).

Arenado is slated to make $35 million in 2021. In the words of Saxon, “don’t look for Nolan Arenado and his $35 million annual salary to come walking in the [Cardinals] clubhouse door anytime soon.” Frankly, the Cardinals are not going to be the only team to say that to the Rockies this offseason.