Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has all but shut the door on a potential offseason trade involving star third baseman Nolan Arenado, as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. Per Bridich, the Rockies “have listened to teams regarding Nolan and really nothing has come of it.”
Accordingly, he said, the club is “going to move forward pretty much as we expected — with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman.” If there was any uncertainty in that phrasing, Bridich seemingly covered it with an additional statement (which doubles as an exhortation to the fans and media): “So we can put this to bed and collectively look forward to the upcoming season and work toward that.”
This is about as much finality as one can reasonably expect to hear from an executive regarding a run of trade rumors — though there is one rather memorable example that went a bit further. In theory, perhaps, the situation could yet change. Bridich indicates that the Rockies didn’t hear anything enticing from rival organizations, but it’s always possible the offers could increase.
Even if there’s some hypothetical possibility of a revival of offseason talks, it seems the bar is now raised rather substantially for a deal. The Rockies surely (and understandably) wish to avoid major uncertainty in the run-up to Spring Training. And now their top baseball executive has very nearly promised that the club’s biggest star will be in Colorado for 2020.
The Rangers, Cardinals, Braves, and others were connected to Arenado at various points in time. It was never clear that talks advanced beyond preliminary stages. While Bridich’s comments confirm that some discussions occurred, it’s fair to wonder whether the smoke really suited the fire.
On paper, it never seemed especially likely Arenado would be moved unless the Rox decided they simply had to move his contract off the books. He’s slated to earn $234MM over seven seasons, which is a fair rate for a player of his abilities and age. But Arenado will have an opt-out opportunity after two seasons, thus limiting the upside. There just isn’t a huge amount of anticipated surplus value in the contract. On the Rockies’ side, meanwhile, it would’ve been hard to part with such a central player unless significant talent came back in return — even given the obvious roster challenges facing the club this winter.