Colorado Rockies send Nolan Arenado away, close any door on contention

Apr 7, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich speaks to reporters before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich speaks to reporters before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Colorado Rockies have reportedly agreed to trade third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Despite all of the rumors over the last two years (including rumors to the Cardinals last offseason) by the reaction on social media, it’s still something that took fans aback. And who could blame you?

Less than 48 hours ago, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that “no deal appears close” but he was the one who broke the news that Arenado would be traded to the team that reportedly couldn’t afford Arenado and his salary due to the massive losses in revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The problem is that the Cardinals probably couldn’t afford Arenado, but the Rockies sending $50 million to take Arenado off their hands to essentially pay him for this season and part of next made him affordable for the Cardinals.

What do the Rockies get in return? Well, that’s not known yet but, it doesn’t look like much. Essentially, the Rockies said, “we’ll pay you to take him off our hands and give us whatever you want back,” after another team got little return for their franchise cornerstone and a very good starting pitcher.

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If the deal goes through, it slams shut the Rockies’ window of contention for the next five years or more … and that’s implying that it was open in the last two seasons, when, in hindsight, it was not. Why is that? The problem that has been talked about ad nauseam with the Rockies. It’s the story of the Colorado Rockies franchise in a nutshell: the lack of execution and consistency to add or develop secondary talent to their stars, for which they have had plenty of, ranging from Larry Walker and the rest of the Blake Street Bombers, to Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, and to present day with the likes of Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, and German Marquez.

That’s why teams like the Tampa Bay Rays can consistently spend half or less than the Colorado Rockies and still make the playoffs way more consistently. Or teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were never-led by Harvard graduates but won a combined six NL West titles and a World Series under two people that were part of the “probably 99 percent” that have “never even led anything in their lives.” Colorado, meanwhile, has one playoff win since 2009 and no NL West titles in its  nearly 30-year franchise history.

So where does that put the Rockies for the next five years and beyond? Well, not in a good spot, to put it mildly.

The man that compared his job to brain surgery but is said by some to be the “worst communicator in MLB” has one of the worst MLB teams … and that was before trading Arenado. The Rockies also have one of the worst farm systems in baseball, and the franchise’s only top 100 prospect in the pipeline is still years from debuting at Coors Field.

But, alas, he still has a job and, frankly, it seems like that as long as owner Dick Monfort is involved in baseball decisions and the man who still hasn’t found out how to field a consistent pitching or consistent secondary talent at altitude despite being as smart (or smarter) than a brain surgeon, the Rockies will never prosper for any long period of time.

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That’s why the notion that the Rockies traded Arenado to sign Trevor Story long-term, at least of this publication, seems ludicrous. Unless the Rockies do something in the next calendar to that prove that they can make moves to improve the franchise, Story will leave the team via free agency and so will a generation of MLB talent that was squandered by the Rockies … yet again.

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