The Colorado Rockies and third baseman Nolan Arenado appear to be in the early stages of a breakup. Earlier this week, the after general manager Jeff Bridich squashed trade rumors by saying Arenado would open the season with the Rockies. Arenado then said he felt "disrespected," a sentiment that reportedly stems from unkept promises Bridich and the Rockies made about their offseason plans. (The Rockies this winter have signed one player, a career minor-league pitcher, to a big-league deal.)
Even if Arenado is with the Rockies at the season's onset, it's likely that his days with the franchise are limited. His words on the matter will be sparse, too, provided he sticks to a vow he made on Wednesday to no longer discuss these matters.
Here's a statement that Arenado submitted to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post:
"There has been a lot of stuff going on that nobody knows about and I was reacting to what was said, and (that) was out of character for me because I'm very private with my life. The Rockies have been talking to my agent and me this offseason about a number of things that will remain between us. I will not speak on these things anymore. I'm getting ready for the upcoming season. I'm working hard to get better for my teammates and fans."
Arenado is, undoubtedly, one of the top third basemen in the game. Over the last three seasons, he's hit .307/.375/.577 (131 OPS+) while averaging 39 home runs and 6.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference's calculations. Trading Arenado will require slick maneuvering, however, due to the contact extension he signed last spring.
Although Arenado technically has seven years and more than $230 million remaining on his deal, it includes an opt-out after the 2021 season. The opt-out is certain to create a natural clash between the Rockies and their trading partners, who will want their payout to align with the cost for two years of Arenado, as opposed to seven. (Theoretically, a team could ask Arenado to waive his opt-out before executing the deal.) The Rockies, obviously, will push back on that.
Those who believe in karma (or other means of universal accounting) will find validation in learning that Arenado did not request the opt-out. Rather, it was Bridich who was adamant about including it, for reasons that are probably cynical in nature -- in short: he wanted the good press, but not the high salaries that come with keeping the franchise player in town. (If this sounds outlandish, just remember that the Miami Marlins privately used similar reasoning when it came to Giancarlo Stanton's extension.) There's a phrase fitting Bridich's part in all this; it goes something like: hoisted by his own petard.
Now, it's up to Bridich to right his wrongs with Arenado and get him back on board; or, at minimum, to find a suitable trade. Otherwise, Bridich might find himself departing town before Arenado does.