Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado’s words and wants shouldn’t surprise anyone

Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies All-Star third baseman, wants to play for a winning team, whether that’s in Colorado or somewhere else. This should come as little or no surprise to anyone who has followed this storyline and its evolution since 2019.

Much has been made about Nolan Arenado’s comments to ESPN’s Karl Ravech during the Gold Glove Award ceremonies earlier this week. With an opt-out clause in his Colorado Rockies contract following the 2021 season, Arenado could walk away from Denver in the middle of an eight-year, $260 million deal he signed before the 2019 season.

Those comments, in case you missed them, are below.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Arenado said. “I think this year will be interesting. I’m hopeful that wherever — I wanna play for a winner. If that’s in Colorado, that’s great. And, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: I just wanna win.”

Yes, Nolan Arenado wants to win. Nolan Arenado wants to play for a winning team. These things are not new. We’ve heard this from Arenado before and we will again, mark my words.

Let’s look back a little as Arenado has tackled this subject plenty of times.

In September of 2019, Arenado told Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post, as the Rockies are wrapping up a season that would see them fall to 71-91, “I can’t play GM.” Would he like to tackle the job of remaking the Rockies, he is asked. Arenado’s response is simple. ““I would love to. I have some plans.”

Arenado believes he knows how to rebuild the Rockies … and it isn’t how Colorado GM Jeff Bridich has been doing it. The two don’t seem to see eye to eye on much in recent times, leading to Arenado fuming over Colorado’s inactivity after the 2019 struggles. Colorado wasn’t building a winner in Arenado’s mind, and it didn’t sit well all offseason.

And let’s not forget what Arenado said this past September when the Rockies were on their way to another losing season. Did making the eight-team playoffs (out of a 15-team National League) show that Colorado was on the right path as a franchise?

“Absolutely. No question for me,” Arenado said. “Eight teams make the playoffs and if we’re not one of those eight teams that’s not a very good sign.”

So if the Rockies aren’t building a winner in Arenado’s eyes and Arenado wants to win, would he really walk away from that chunk of Colorado money this offseason? In this pandemic-plagued economy? Before you say, “No way,” remember this damning quote from Arenado to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale back in late February:

“Yeah, the money is a great bonus, we’re set for life and all of that, but you still have goals and want to reach the top. That’s what you’re playing for, to be a World Series champion.’’

With Colorado owner Dick Monfort already telling fans that “there will be nothing normal about this offseason,” it isn’t likely that the Rockies are going to make big-ticket changes to their lineup. That doesn’t bode well for a team that is still chasing the defending World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers for a division title, and is one of the longest of long shots to win the World Series in 2021.

This isn’t news to me … or you … or Arenado. Turning 30 next April, Arenado knows he’s in the prime of his award-riddled career. Time is ticking.

Arenado has made it clear what he wants. Can it still happen in Colorado?

Arenado and the Rockies front office have a tempestuous relationship at the moment, and it’s not likely to get better until Colorado shows it can win. But will that happen before Arenado walks away or a satisfactory trade offer (for the franchise and Arenado, with his no-trade clause) comes along? If it means playing for a winner somewhere else, don’t be surprised if Arenado’s days with the Rockies are extremely limited.