Trading your best player for less than value is usually a sign, but Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort and GM Jeff Bridich insist the team is not rebuilding.
Less than a year after signing an eight-year, $260 million contract, Nolan Arenado expressed some discontent with the Colorado Rockies. Those lingering trade rumors were paid off officially Monday night, as Arenado is headed to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Colorado is getting none of St. Louis’ top prospects in the deal, and they’re even paying $51 million of what Arenado was owed over the rest of his contract. So it’s a move rooted in Arenado’s unhappiness with a lack of effort to build around him, and finances of a long, expensive contract that always had a chance to look ugly by the end.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort spoke to reporters on Tuesday, and he didn’t help things much.
“I’m aware this is not a popular decision, but I promise, it was not made with haste,” Monfort said Tuesday. “This brings closure to something we’ve been dealing with for over a year.”
“Our assumption was that (Arenado) would opt out,”
Monfort went on to say general manager Jeff Bridich did an incredible job getting the deal done with the Cardinals, which strains logic. The two were also clear that the Rockies aren’t rebuilding.
Keep in mind Monfort, pre-pandemic and with the team coming off a 71-91 season in 2019, predicted the 2020 Rockies would win 94 games. But when you don’t sign outside free agents of any note or make any trades that bolster the roster, 90-win optimism is hard to see from the outside. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are also lapping the Rockies within their own division.
With Arenado gone, shortstop Trevor Story becomes the Rockies’ player with the brunt of the trade speculation spotlight now. Bridich said he expects Story to start the season in Colorado, while acknowledging how hard it is to predict what the coming months will look like.
The Rockies’ plan for the coming months looks clear though, even if Monfort and Bridich won’t admit it publicly as they implement it. No veteran with any sort of money on the books (this year or going forward), and any viable trade value, should be too comfortable.