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Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, 28, has four Silver Slugger and seven Gold Glove awards in his seven big-league seasons. (AP Photo)

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With corner infielder Todd Frazier heading to the Texas Rangers, that appears to diminish that team’s interest in Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.

That news, on the heels of the Cardinals adding to their potential trade chips with their swap with the Tampa Bay Rays, triggered sensors on the MLB market watch.

Are the Cardinals becoming serious bidders for Arenado?

Tipsheet has worked overtime trying to downplay this speculation, noting all the obstacles in the path of such a titanic trade. But a few of those obstacles have cleared and now the teams are talking.

That would seem to indicate Arenado is willing to waive his no-trade protection. If the Cardinals can somehow offload a big salary — either Matt Carpenter or Dexter Fowler — then the deal looks more logical.

It would also help if Arenado would agree to erase his opt-out clause so he is not just a two-year rental.

Those are really big ifs, of course, but Arenado may see value in finding a more permanent home after the Rockies started pulling the rug out from under him in Denver.

(If the Rockies do trade Arenado in his prime, why would anybody want to buy a ticket to support that franchise? When will that ownership truly commit to winning in Denver?)

As for potential trade pieces, the Cardinals have assets the Rockies like. So that’s not a roadblock.

Here is what folks are writing about the Cardinals:

Jon Paul Morosi, MLB.com: “The Cardinals have emerged in recent days as a viable suitor in the Nolan Arenado trade discussions, multiple sources said Sunday. One source said the Rockies and Cardinals have engaged in ‘preliminary’ trade negotiations regarding Arenado, the five-time All-Star third baseman and seven-time National League Gold Glove Award winner. St. Louis intends to add one star-level position player before Spring Training begins next month, and Arenado is an appealing option if the Cardinals don’t re-sign free-agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. The Rangers are competing in a similar sector of the market as the Cardinals, having shown interest in trading for Arenado or signing Ozuna or Nicholas Castellanos in free agency . . . Multiple executives said in recent days that Arenado is the most likely of The Big Three position player trade candidates -- Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor are the others -- to be moved in the four weeks before Spring Training camps open. Talks between the Indians and Dodgers about Lindor remain stuck on Cleveland’s insistence on the inclusion of infield prospect Gavin Lux, whom the Dodgers have refused to put into any offer.”

Dayn Perry, CBSSports.com: “Coming into the offseason, it was apparent that the Cardinals, reigning NL Central champs, had to address their outfield bottleneck.  Back were Dexter Fowler, Harrison Bader and super-sub Tommy Edman, who merits regular playing time somewhere. Also back was Tyler O’Neill, who badly needs consistent reps at the highest level in order to determine what kind of present and future he has. Jose Martinez, defensively stretched to the point of breaking at really any position, was also still in the fold. Tooled-up Randy Arozarena was pressing for playing time, and top prospect Dylan Carlson had proved ready for a promotion. Also in the mix were Lane Thomas, Justin Williams and Adolis Garcia. To bellow the obvious, those are a lot of names for three spots plus bench detail.  In recent days, the Cardinals have eased the pressure a bit with a pair of trades. First, they sent Garcia to the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations, and then they shipped Martinez and Arozarena off to Tampa Bay for highly regarded pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, low-minors catching prospect Edgardo Rodriguez and a swap of competitive balance round draft picks. So the clot is smaller, but it's still there.  There are worse problems to have. The Dodgers, for instance, have in recent years dealt with a surfeit of outfielders, and they've benefited from the roster depth. Also bear in mind that starting in 2020 active rosters will expand 25 spots to 26, and that eases the pressure a bit. On another level, having a deep mix of handedness on the bench may be more valuable than ever now that relievers must face at least three batters (or end the half inning in question). Those new wrinkles both make the St. Louis outfield situation a bit less desperate, if that's the word for it.”

Keith Law, The Athletic: “Forgive me if I can’t help but think that the Cardinals plan to keep lefty Matt Liberatore moving in another deal to try to improve their roster for 2020. Liberatore was the Rays’ first-round pick in 2018, and a top-five talent in that draft class. He just turned 20 in November and is coming off a solid full-season debut in low-A Bowling Green, where he made 15 starts and threw 78 1/3 innings with 76 strikeouts and 31 walks. Liberatore works in the low 90s and will run it up to 95-96 mph, with big spin rates on his breaking stuff and a very good feel for pitching for his age, which I’d say made his walk rate a bit surprising. He’s a really good athlete, the kind of raw material teams seem to particularly value right now because of the belief that strong athletes take better to mechanical and pitch adjustments. I think he has No. 2 starter upside, given the velocity, quality breaking stuff, and athleticism, but of course he’s got the risk associated with any 20-year-old who hasn’t even thrown 100 innings in a season yet.”

MEGAPHONE

"I think every team probably wants to reset at least once every three years — that's sort of been the history — but just this week, I reminded baseball ops that we are focused on competitiveness over the next five years over and above resetting, to which they said, 'That's exactly how we've been approaching it.'"

Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, to the Boston Globe.


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This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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