Two days after Nolan Arenado blasted the Colorado Rockies’ front office, things seem to be calming down a bit. Talk around the league hints that while the team’s third baseman has gone quiet, things are not necessarily “all clear.”
MLB.com‘s Thomas Harding pointed out there are a couple of different ways the situation can work itself out, though the top option appears to be a similar outcome to what the Florida Marlins had to go through in 2017 with Giancarlo Stanton.
Jeff Passan pointed out Arenado has a full no-trade clause similar to Stanton’s, and the Marlins outfielder used his clause back in 2017 to block trades to both the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. Eventually, he found his way to the New York Yankees.
Harding pointed out the big difference between the Marlins three years ago and the Rockies this year is that everyone knew Florida was rebuilding. Not long after Stanton was traded, they shipped Christian Yelich to the Brewers and Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals.
Arenado, who is in the second year of an eight-year contract, has made it clear that most of his anger toward the front office stems from the supporting cast they’ve put around him and a feeling the team isn’t trying to contend in 2020.
Those around baseball are still confused about just what the Rockies are expecting from the upcoming season. Harding points out the 71-91 record in 2019 was a big drop for a team that made the playoffs the previous two years.
The front office told sources around the league that it felt the core — comprised in part by shortstop Trevor Story and pitcher Jon Gray — could lead the team to a couple of bounce-back seasons.
Harding also pointed out the reality is that Colorado needs to lean on the current core group because of a tight payroll. That payroll is even tighter thanks to Arenado’s $260 million contract.
The Rockies have been trying to find the right trade partner for Arenado over the winter, according to multiple reports. Most recently, the Chicago Cubs were considered a suitor, possibly with their own third baseman, Kris Bryant, as part of the return.
Harding believes if the Rox are able to deal their All-Star infielder before the 2020 season, it will signal a Marlins-style rebuild. The front office has shipped off other starting fielders over the last few years in order to build up the bullpen.
Similar to Stanton, a blockbuster deal by Colorado could return enough young players to reload its core group quickly.