Perhaps worried by a freeze that had taken over MLB free agency, Nolan Arenado bypassed the opportunity to reach the open market by signing an eight-year, $260 million contract extension last February.
The Rockies were coming off a season in which they were atop the National League West standings for much of the year, only to suffer a late collapse and loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Game 163.
Arenado spoke optimistically about the direction of the Rockies’ franchise, but his commentary grew much more critical as the team struggled throughout the 2019 season. At the end of the year Arenado implied the Rockies were in the mist of a rebuild.
He later became the subject of trade rumors, which Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said the team was backing away from as the start of Spring Training nears, per Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post:
“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.”
That was followed by Arenado breaking his silence in which he accused the Rockies of not being respectful, though without providing specifics, via Thomas Harding of MLB.com:
“There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of,” Arenado said in a text. “You can quote that.”
In reaction to Bridich’s announcement, Arenado elaborated.
“You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there,” Arenado said. “There is a lot of disrespect.”
Asked what was said that he found particularly disrespectful, Arenado said, “No. I won’t get into the details.”
Arenado clarified his statement later, adding, “I’m not mad at the trade rumors. There’s more to it.”
It’s not beyond reason the relationship between the Rockies and Arenado is now fractured beyond repair, thus making a trade likely. Colorado parting with their All-Star third baseman was already believed to be a higher likelihood than Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor getting traded.
The St. Louis Cardinals were most recently mentioned as a team in pursuit of an Arenado trade.
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