Dodgers Rumors: Links to Nolan Arenado Persist
May 18, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Boston Red Sox during the eighth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Persistent rumors have linked the Los Angeles Dodgers to St. Louis Cardinals star Nolan Arenado, a saga that dates back to last year’s August 1 trade deadline. As the current season progresses, the Dodgers find themselves in the middle of a five-game losing streak, their longest in five years, compounded by the injury of their regular third baseman, Max Muncy.

Despite these challenges, the Dodgers hold a 33-22 record, leading the National League West by five games. Meanwhile, the Cardinals, with a 25-27 record, are in third place in the National League Central behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. Last season, the Cardinals finished 71-91, marking the second-worst record in the National League. To note, the Cardinals are +250 just to make the playoffs at most sportsbooks and crypto betting sites.

The trade rumors date back to last year and have gained additional traction today partly because of the Cardinals’ disappointing performance over the past two seasons, which has fueled speculation that some of their top players might seek new opportunities. Nolan Arenado, a highly decorated player with 10 Gold Glove Awards, six Platinum Glove Awards, and eight All-Star appearances, is at the center of these rumors.

His desire to win is well-known, and the Cardinals’ lackluster form could prompt him to waive his no-trade clause for a chance to compete for a championship with the Dodgers.

On Arenado, John Heyman of the New York Post said, “No one hates losing more, and the Cardinals are more than a year into their disastrous run, so he just might approve a trade. The Dodgers don’t really need him but that’s one team he might jump at.”

Arenado’s contract, which extends through 2027, includes a significant salary that could be a hefty addition to the Dodgers’ payroll. He is set to make $35 million in 2024, $32 million in 2025, $27 million in 2026, and $15 million in 2027, with the Colorado Rockies covering a small portion of these payments. Arenado’s consistent performance at the plate, evidenced by his .286/.348/.393 slash line and OPS+ of 113, makes him a valuable asset for any team aiming for postseason success.

The Dodgers’ infield situation further fuels the trade speculation. While Max Muncy has shown defensive improvement at third base, his injury has left a void. Coming off a major knee injury that sidelined him for the entire 2023 season, Gavin Lux, currently at second base, has struggled offensively, batting just .206. Acquiring Arenado could allow Muncy to shift to second base, bolstering the Dodgers’ infield while improving defensive prowess.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, face a potential overhaul. With several pitchers, including Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery, set to become free agents, and Adam Wainwright retiring, St. Louis may be motivated to trade Arenado for young pitching prospects to rejuvenate their roster. The Dodgers’ wealth of pitching talent in the minors makes them an attractive trade partner.

Arenado’s own statements reflect his uncertainty about his future. While he has expressed a desire to stay with the Cardinals, he acknowledges that the team’s management is exploring all options to improve. This openness leaves the door ajar for a potential trade to the Dodgers, a team he grew up supporting. Arenado grew up in California and attended El Toro High School in Lake Forest just south of Los Angeles, and played shortstop on the school’s baseball team

Rumors surrounding Nolan Arenado’s potential move to the Dodgers are rooted in the Cardinals’ struggles and the Dodgers’ current infield challenges. As the trade deadline approaches, the possibility of Arenado donning the Dodgers’ blue and white remains a tantalizing prospect for fans and pundits alike. The next few months will be crucial in determining whether this high-profile trade will come to fruition.