In January, Colorado Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado told MLB.Com, “There’s a lot of disrespect from [the Rockies organization] that I don’t want to be a part of. You can quote that.” That was quickly followed by a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan saying that Arenado’s frustration is due to the organization’s inactivity this offseason following a 71-91 season. Arenado wants to win, and he seemingly feels misled one year after signing an eight-year, $260 million deal with the Rockies.
Well, on Monday night, Passan wrote — in an in-depth MLB column well worth your read — that an Arenado trade is “inevitable,” and called the relationship between Arenado and the Rockies “broken.”
It is abundantly clear at this point that Arenado wants to get out of Colorado because he has zero faith in the Rockies’ ability to win. The Rockies, meanwhile, have tried to trade him but are asking teams for far more in return than a player owed $234 million for presumably the downside of his career would warrant. Thus, this incredible stalemate that sees Arenado coming up with new ways to talk about how excited he is for the season because 29 other teams are going to be watching him or how he wouldn’t have signed his contract extension last year and would’ve been a Dodger this year had he known the Rockies were going to spend the entire winter of 2019-20 not spending a dime in free agency.
Ultimately, this is going to end with the Rockies trading Arenado. That is inevitable. The relationship is broken. The Rockies aren’t good enough right now to contend in the NL West, and the lack of contention will only reinforce Arenado’s point, and the Rockies will drop their asking price, and somebody will pounce.
If it’s indeed inevitable, the Rockies should make this happen sooner than later. Despite what delusional Rockies owner Dick Monfort seems to think (he recently said the Rockies will win a franchise-record 94 games), this season looks bleak for Colorado.
After acquiring Mookie Betts, the Los Angeles Dodgers look like as much of a “lock” to win the division as you’ll see entering an MLB season. They should be a juggernaut, and are currently projected by FanGraphs to win 10 more games than any NL team. And in comparison to the Rockies? The Dodgers are projected to win 23 more games (97 vs 74). And in terms of thinking the NL Wild Card, the Rockies look worse on paper than 11 teams. Even if the Rockies highly overachieve and make a Wild Card run, that’s all to get to a one-game playoff, before needing to get by teams like the Dodgers in postseason series to make a title run.
Arenado correctly has zero optimism in that all happening, and the Rockies would be wise to come to the same realization- accept where the team currently stands, accept that the Dodgers will run this division for the next few years, and accelerate a full-on rebuild.
But, the Rockies are constantly stubborn, so they’ll probably let this situation carry on for at least several months (if not into next offseason+), let things just get more awkward, win under 75 games, and ultimately get back less for Arenado than they would now.