With Nolan Arenado now officially on his way to the Cardinals, questions have inevitably turned to the future of another star Rockies infielder in Trevor Story. The shortstop is entering the final year of his contract, but the team expects that Story will begin 2021 in a Colorado uniform, as GM Jeff Bridich told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter links) and other reporters today.
Bridich stopped short of saying that Story wouldn’t be traded whatsoever, as “it’s very difficult to predict what the coming months will look like.” Beyond just Story, however, Bridich more firmly stated that the Arenado trade wasn’t the first of many for his team. “This certainly is not a total tear-down and rebuild….If that was the case, certain players already would have been traded,” the general manager said.
That comment could be a more pointed reference to Story, considering how Story can be a free agent next winter. The shortstop has been cited as a logical trade candidate for months, though while reports in December suggested the Rox were at least considering the possibility, there hasn’t been much in the way of concrete news about specific teams pursuing Story. That said, it’s probably safe to assume that every team in need of a shortstop this offseason at least placed a call to Bridich to check in on Story’s availability.
While that list of possible suitors has narrowed as several notable shortstops have come off the board in free agency and in the trade market, there would certainly still be plenty of interest in Story if the Rockies changed course and shopped him now, or even in midseason as a pure trade deadline rental. A case could certainly be made that Colorado is better off moving him now in order to maximize Story’s trade return, since waiting until closer to the trade deadline creates added risk of an injury, or Story struggling, or teams being less willing to give up multiple prospects since they’d only have Story for a portion of a season rather than all of 2021.
However, the Rockies seem intent on not throwing in the towel on the coming season. At today’s press conference, owner Dick Monfort told The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders and other media that “I truly believe this is a very talented team that underperformed the last two years.” Monfort has been notably over-optimistic about his team in the past (most notably his prediction almost exactly one year ago that the 2020 Rockies would win 94 games), and even if the Rockies were better than their 2019-20 records indicate, that certainly isn’t a promise of future success. Colorado has done little this offseason besides trade Arenado, while the Dodgers and Padres now seem prepared to dominate the NL West for years to come.