Your reminder timeline: the Colorado Rockies were quite good in 2018, winning 91 games (finishing just one game behind the Dodgers), and knocking the Cubs out of the Wild Card Game. That offseason, they signed superstar Nolan Arenado to an eight-year contract extension, one year before he was otherwise set for free agency. The Rockies went on to be quite terrible in 2019, and then did absolutely nothing to improve on that terrible team in the offseason.
Rumors flew that the Rockies were listening to trade offers for Arenado, but, not hearing any they liked, said Arenado wouldn’t be dealt and would stay with the Rockies. Arenado, pissed about unspecified things behind the scenes (strongly believed to be conversations he’d had with higher ups about what they were going to be doing to improve the team), went off on the GM, and things have been quietly tense ever since.
In the meantime, very credible rumors have connected the Cubs (presumably among other teams) to the Rockies in ongoing trade talks about Arenado, who is due to report to Spring Training on Sunday. Historically, he’s there by now. But for reasons understood by all, he’s not going to show up until he has to. And it could be that he and the Rockies are hoping a trade comes together before that.
Breaking his silence, Arenado spoke with Yahoo’s Tim Brown (a national guy, rather than a local writer, interestingly) about where things stand. He’s clearly frustrated about what he sees as a team that is not going to win:
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) February 14, 2020
Note that Arenado emphasized that he doesn’t necessarily see things with the Rockies as irreconcilable, but he also doesn’t regret what he said publicly. He will still be there for his teammates, and he doesn’t want them to have to answer for his issues. Maybe somehow, then, it won’t be horribly awkward and further disenchanting for him to report to Spring Training with the Rockies?
It’s clear, though, that he’s thinking about wanting to be on a winner immediately. He can’t quite force his way out, but he can certainly choose his destination – if the Rockies want to separate – via his no-trade clause. I still think that’s why the Cubs have stayed engaged, because they know there might be a relative bargain to be had.
And if there’s not? And if he’s not traded elsewhere in the next two days? Well, then Arenado will be with the Rockies for the start of Spring Training and it’ll probably be challenging.