Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado has been mentioned in trade rumors since the 2019 season ended, but so far he has yet to find a new home. Earlier today, GM Jeff Bridich told The Denver Post he expects the Rockies to start the 2020 season “with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman.”
Arenado wasn’t a happy camper about the news. Per MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, Arenado said via text message, “There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of. You can quote that.” Arenado continued, “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.” The five-time All-Star did not get into specifics about what he found disrespectful. He clarified to Harding that it’s not the trade rumors he finds irritating.
Arenado, 28, signed an eight-year, $260 million contract extension with the Rockies 11 months ago. However, the deal contains an opt-out clause after the 2021 season — something that Bridich, not Arenado, pushed for in the deal, as Marc Normandin noted.
Though the Rockies are not exactly rebuilding, Arenado described to The Athletic last September that the organization’s current situation “feels like a rebuild.” Arenado has wanted the Rockies to show a commitment towards building a competitive team. Thus far this offseason, the Rockies have yet to sign a free agent to a guaranteed major league contract. The Rockies and the Cubs are the only teams that haven’t done so.
This isn’t even the first time in recent memory that the Rockies’ relationship with a star homegrown player has soured. Former shortstop Troy Tulowitzki also had an abrupt exit from Colorado due to tensions with Bridich.
This is a messy situation for the Rockies. Arenado going public with his displeasure significantly weakens the club’s leverage in trade negotiations. The Cardinals, Rangers, and Braves have been most commonly linked with Arenado in trade talks throughout the offseason. It sounds like Arenado’s days in Colorado are numbered even if only one half of the equation wants it that way.