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Nolan Arenado was officially introduced as a member of the Cardinals on Tuesday following the Rockies’ blockbuster trade, and the all-star third baseman left no doubt about why he wanted out of Colorado.
“As a kid, you dream of winning a World Series, and that’s still the dream now,” Arenado said. “To join this organization, they care about winning and they want to get things done, and it’s really exciting. They’re always competitive and that’s something that got my attention.”
Cardinals president John Mozeliak said discussions for the trade, which sent Arenado and around $50 million to St. Louis in exchange for left-hander Austin Gomber and four prospects, began last offseason. Those talks heated up again in December, and the trade was officially announced Monday.
The new seven-year, $214-million contract with St. Louis includes two opt-outs (after 2021 and 2022), but Arenado — looking a combination of elated and relieved on Tuesday’s Zoom — indicated he has no intention of wanting to bolt from the Cardinals the way he wanted out from the Rockies.
St. Louis’ status as a perennial contender — compared to the perennial underdog Rockies, who have not won a division title in 28 years of existence — surely underscores Arenado’s sentiment.
“When I signed in Colorado (on an eight-year, $260 million contract in 2019), I signed with the intent to be there for the rest of my career,” Arenado said. “That was the intent. But it wasn’t meant to be. The last few years have been tough (with the losing)…. And I’m not the first (big) contract to get moved after a couple years… Things change and I couldn’t be happier for them to change and to be in this situation now.”
Owner Dick Monfort said Arenado demanded a trade last year. The third baseman declined to talk about that, his soured relationship with general manager Jeff Bridich or how Colorado’s blueprint for success (or lack thereof) played into his decision to approve the trade to St. Louis. Arenado would only say that “I gave it my all” in 1,079 career games across eight seasons in Colorado.
“I’m not part of that team anymore and I don’t have a whole lot to say about where they’re headed or where they’re not,” Arenado said. “I just know I’m joining a great team and I did the best I could there.”
While the Rockies are coming off consecutive fourth-place finishes in the NL West, the Cardinals are now a frontrunner for the NL Central title. And Arenado joins a club he’s appreciated from afar since his rookie season in 2013.
“The first thing (then-Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki) told me when we got there to a road trip in St. Louis is, ‘Just watch the way these guys play the game and you’re going to learn something,’” Arenado said. “He was quite right about that, because this team was extremely talented and they did the little things right to win ballgames, and that’s something I’ve always admired about this organization.”