When the Cardinals headed to California to woo Giancarlo Stanton and try to convince him, in person, to waive his no-trade clause and accept the trade the Marlins had to St. Louis, they had an advocate already in the room, one who already had the ear of the reigning NL MVP.

His agent, Joel Wolfe, had spent his final season in the pros playing in the Cardinals’ minor-league system. He appeared in 72 games in 1996 for the same Class AA A-Travs team that had Joe McEwing, Eli Marrero, and future Cardinals’ No. 1 starter Matt Morris. That time, coupled with his time as an agent, had given Wolfe a feel for the Cardinals’ message that he wanted his client, Stanton, to understand.

“They talked a lot about the history of the franchise, and the culture, which is important to him,” Wolfe told Post-Dispatch sports columnist Ben Frederickson.

“I wanted him to hear that.”

So here the Cardinals are again trying to discuss and explore the possibility of trading for another MVP-caliber player, Nolan Arenado, who like Stanton has significant power when it comes to forcing and approving a deal. The Cardinals, according to multiple sources, have had longstanding interest in Arenado. They wondered if the Rockies were going to trade him a year ago before he signed an extension, and they have had discussions with the Rockies at least dating back before trading for Paul Goldschmidt in Dec. 2018.

Arenado must approve any trade, but his willingness to rework his opt-out after the 2021 season could also be key to any deal. Any team, the Cardinals included, would like a chance to discuss the opt-out, if possible. Arenado must be sold on the new team and would clearly want to hear about its ability to contend into the future.