Rockies Put Rumors to Rest: Angry Arenado Will Open Season in Purple Pinestripes
What began as a feeling out process for the Rockies in early December turned into a media feeding frenzy in January, with a wide variety of rumors about Nolan Arenado, and reached the point that on Monday, general manager Jeff Bridich officially put to restthe speculation of a trade of a seemingly disgrunlted Arenado.
Arenado will be in spring training with the Rockies when camps open next month, and will be in the starting lineup for the Rockies for the regular-season opener at San Diego on March 26.
"Back in San Diego, during the winter meetings, we decided to at least listen to what teams had to say," said Bridich. "We had enough clubs tell us if we were to look to trade him to let them now. We decided we might as well listen in.
“With the season coming up and spring training on the horizon, we are going to start focusing on that,” Bridich said. “We have listened to teams regarding Nolan and really nothing has come of it. We are going to move forward pretty much as we expected — with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman. So we can put this to bed and collectively look forward to the upcoming season and work toward that.”
Arenado, however, doesn't appear in a forgiving mood.
“There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of,” Arenado said in a text sent to Thomas Harding of MLB.com . “You can quote that. ... You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there. There is a lot of disrespect.”
Arenado, signed last spring to an eight-year, $260 million contract that gives him a chance to opt out after the 2021 season, did not expand on the reasons for his displeasure.
The Rockies, meanwhile, are turning their focus to preparation for the season.
The Rockies are looking at a redo from last year.
They felt good about their roster before injuries took a toll a year ago, leaving them basically without any of their projected top six starting pitchers for the final six weeks of the season. With a nucleus in which Charlie Blackmon is the only 30-something, the Rockies remain confident that they will be a factor in the battle for a chance to play in October at the end of the 2020 season.
Bridich said he could understand frustrations among Arenado and other players, just like there were frustrations in the front-office with the way things went a year ago.
"It was a tough season for everybody," said Bridich. "Let's learn from it and move on."
Arenado did at one point say "it feels like we are in a rebuild," but the severity of that statement was blown out of proportion in the media. Writers lifted one sentence out of a lengthy statement Arenado made to writers on Sept. 1, in which he talked about how the season had unraveled, and with so many players on the injured list a lot of young players were getting expanded opportunities. He said that made it feel like a rebuild, but quickly went back to explaining how the extended look in the spring would give those players a head start for spring training.
A year ago, after all, the Rockies were fresh off back-to-back NL wild-card trips to the post-season -- including a 2018 season in which the Rockies met the Dodgers in a Game 163 to decide which team would be the NL West champion and which would be a wild-card.
The Rockies are looking at 2019 as a mulligan.
They are looking to rebound in 2020, and counting on Arenado being the cornerstone for the possible success.