There are plenty of opinions out there on if and when the Colorado Rockies and the rest of Major League Baseball will return. However, even with the diamond silent, Nolan Arenado’s presence still continues to be the compass that sets the direction for the franchise.
On this his 29th birthday, it’s time to take a look at just how big Nolan Arenado‘s impact has been on the Colorado Rockies franchise and how his talent continues to be the desire of so many Major League teams.
As our friend Kyle Newman of The Denver Post pointed out in this article on the last day of March, should the 2020 season not be played, it would rob not only Rockies fans but also Major League Baseball of another season of watching Arenado man third base, which is in and of itself an art form. There’s a reason why Mike Schmidt called Arenado the “heir apparent” to being the greatest third baseman of all time. It’s because he is. Fans can see it. Hall of Famers can see it. Opponents can see it.
He seems to make a point to use his talents to especially stab the San Francisco Giants in the heart. Whether it’s going over a tarp…
Or from the seat of his pants…
Or at the plate…
But, don’t worry Giants fans. It hasn’t just been your hearts that Arenado has broken. Since 2014, he leads MLB in game-winning RBI (90) and is tied for first with 161 go-ahead RBI. During that same span, he also paces the Majors in total RBI (682), extra-base hits (464), and total bases (1,951). He’s also the National League leader during that time with 217 home runs.
Last season, he became the first NL player since Albert Pujols in 2010 to hit 40 or more homers and strike out less than 100 times.
Three consecutive Platinum Glove Awards. Four consecutive Silver Sluggers. Five consecutive All-Star appearances. Seven consecutive Gold Glove Awards. The accolades for Arenado go on and on and on.
Arenado has already amassed 37.5 bWAR, good for fourth all-time in franchise history. Troy Tulowitzki (39.5 bWAR) and Hall of Famer Larry Walker (48.3 bWAR) certainly seem to be in Arenado’s reach, and overtaking Todd Helton (61.8 bWAR) is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Of course, Arenado has to actually play for those numbers to go up. But will Rockies fans be robbed of a season of watching Arenado play in purple? As Newman pointed out in his article, with full service time being granted to players this season regardless of whether the season is played or not, the opt-out clause in Arenado’s contract, set to kick in after the 2021 campaign, suddenly becomes a lot closer in view.
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Before there was a thought of a COVID-19 pandemic in the country, there were plenty of trade rumors involving Arenado and teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and plenty of others. The friction between Arenado and Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich made for must-read journalism leading up to and during the first days of spring training and fanned the flames of trade rumors across the country. Over the past year, it’s safe to say that no topic has driven more conversation when it comes to the Rockies (on a local or national level) than Arenado’s future with the club.
Like the leader he is, Arenado arrived at spring training and talked openly about the inner tension and acknowledged he knew other teams were going to be watching him this season. Now, we can only hope that anyone can be watching Arenado this season.
Rockies fans have been fortunate enough to watch Arenado mature into a leader for the team, on and off the field. While we can’t celebrate Arenado on the field on his 29th birthday, we can certainly take a moment to reflect on how lucky we have been (and will hopefully continue to be sooner than later) to watch him play baseball.