Worst Trade In Recent Memory: Colorado Rockies

The Nolan Arenado trade in February 2021 saw the Colorado Rockies send one of the best third basemen in baseball to the St. Louis Cardinals for a package of prospects and cash considerations.

The trade was widely criticized by baseball fans, analysts, and even some players, and has been considered one of the worst trades in recent memory.

Arenado was a five-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner, and he had been a key part of the Rockies' success in recent years. He was also under contract for several more years, meaning that the Rockies could have built their team around him for the foreseeable future.

However, the trade saw the Rockies give up Arenado for what many saw as a paltry return.

In exchange for Arenado, the Rockies received left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber, infielders Elehuris Montero and Mateo Gil, and right-handers Tony Locey and Jake Sommers.

While Gomber had shown promise in his limited MLB experience with the Cardinals, the other players were largely unproven prospects with little to no MLB experience. Additionally, the Rockies had to send cash to the Cardinals to offset some of the salary that Arenado was owed, which further reduced the value of the trade.

The trade was widely criticized by fans and analysts who felt that the Rockies were not committed to winning. It was seen as a sign that the team was not willing to spend money to build a winning team, leading to criticism of the Rockies' ownership and front office.

The decision to trade Arenado was also surprising because he had signed a massive eight-year contract extension with the Rockies just two years prior, which many people believed would keep him with the team for the rest of his career.

Since the trade, Nolan Arenado has continued to perform at a high level for the Cardinals, posting an .839 OPS, 66 home runs, 222 RBIs, and 164 runs scored across 327 games, further emphasizing the Rockies' loss in the trade.

Since joining the Cardinals, the 32-year-old has also won two Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, been an All-Star each season, and finished third in MVP voting in 2022.

Meanwhile, the players acquired by the Rockies have yet to make a significant impact on the team.

Gomber has yet to find success, and currently leads the league in losses with four, and earned runs with 22 over four starts this season. Montero and Gil are still young and could find success, but probably won't replace the production Arenado had.

The trade has added to the Rockies' reputation as a poorly run franchise, and it is widely regarded as one of the worst trades in recent memory due to the combination of the Rockies' decision to trade a superstar player for an underwhelming return, and their willingness to pay a significant portion of his remaining contract. Photo Credit:  Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports