As Arenado neared free agency and the possibility of being available for a trade, the Cardinals let their interest be known — as far back as at least the 2018-19 offseason. In February 2019, Arenado agreed to an eight-year, $260-million extension, but the honeymoon was short.
He expressed frustration with how little the Rockies did to add free agents and contend. His relationship with the Rockies’ general manager frayed, and sources described how ownership got involved to help spur a deal with the Cardinals. In Arenado’s eight years at Coors Field, the Rockies had two winning seasons and finished, on average, 19½ games out of the first place in the National League West.
Arenado’s desire to move to a winning team, one that annually made a commitment to contend, drove the part he had to play in compelling a deal. The reimagined contract and money moving around required the players’ union and Major League Baseball to approve elements of the deal.
After coming to an agreement Friday, all parties shepherded the contract’s language through the weekend to finalize the deal and get that OK. On Monday, two sources described how MLB, the union, and teams were committed together to “make this happen.” Arenado was willing to adjust as necessary, another source said.
“Where there is a will, there’s a way,” one source said.