The time has finally come. After an offseason that left a state of confusion surrounding the Colorado Rockies and All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, the 28 year old reported to Spring Training Sunday morning in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Arenado was greeted with extensive media coverage, including reporters from the Chicago area, given the rumors between the Rockies and Chicago Cubs.
Sunday marked the first time Arenado spoke with the media since news of his fractured relationship with General Manager Jeff Bridich became public.
“I wasn’t panicking about it at all, to be honest,” Arenado said this morning via Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “It didn’t fluster me. These talks are what they are. They happen. And sometimes there’s a little bit of friction.”
Rumors about Arenado’s future in Colorado set in right after the 2019 World Series and gained more momentum as the offseason progressed.
While the entire situation has been mysterious from the get-go, one thing is obvious: Arenado wants to win, and he does not want to waste his prime years playing for a losing ball club, which was pointed out in a story from Yahoo Sports.
Arenado acknowledged he never formally asked to be traded, but admitted there were “a few times” he thought he could be dealt during the offseason, adding:
“It’s still a business,” he said via Darren McKee of 104.3 The Fan. “You never know what can happen.”
Arenado also said he will meet with Bridich to some capacity in the future to discuss improving the team.
For the time being, Arenado is a Rockie, and he is entering this season optimistic his club can return to the postseason after winning just 71 games in 2019.
“I have to be optimistic,” Arenado said. “I am not just going to sit here and moan about this. I am optimistic. You have to be. It’s Spring Training. You never know what can happen.”
The Rockies are the lone ballclub that has not spent any money towards improving their major league roster this offseason and will field virtually the same team as they did last season.
Nevertheless, Arenado believes Colorado has the talent to turn things around but acknowledges it will not be an easy task.
“I do have confidence in the guys we have here,” He said. “We have to take a big leap this year. A lot of teams in our division got way better. That is going to be tough.”
Rockies’ fans were left in the dark about Arenado’s future as he kept a low profile throughout the offseason.
There was no explanation from the organization either as Bridich did not meet with the media at Rockies’ fan fest and declined to comment about the situation at the start of Spring Training.
When addressing the fans, Arenado reaffirmed his commitment to compete on the diamond in 2020.
“I am here, ready to go,” He said. “I am going to go compete. I know a lot of things have been swirling around, but nothing has changed with me. I am going to do the best I can and play hard. I am going to try and help this team win and do the best I can.”
Arenado also sympathized with the fans who are tired of losing.
“I know their feelings about losing, and it’s not fun,” Arenado said. “Nobody is happy about it, and I am with them. I know they want to win, and I do too.”
Arenado is confident he will be able to put all the offseason noise behind him now that Spring Training has arrived. That said, if the Rockies struggle out of the gate in the regular season, there is no telling what comes next.