So, is there life for the Colorado Rockies after the departure of Nolan Arenado?
While the jury is still out on the answer to that question, one thing seems certain for now. Arenado, a five-time All-Star who graced the hot corner for the Colorado Rockies for eight years before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a much-maligned deal last week, seems more than ready to join his new teammates in the city known as the Gateway to the West.
During a hastily-called press conference on February 2, Arenado noted on more than one occasion his enthusiasm for becoming a member of the Cardinals, a franchise that has 19 National League pennants to its credit along with 11 World Series titles.
“It feels great,” the eight-time Gold Glove Award winner said of his move east along Interstate-70 to St. Louis. “This organization is awesome. I know they really care about winning. That’s all they talked about from what I have talked to them so far. It’s really awesome to be a part of. They have great history. I am really excited to be a part of that history with them.”
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Arenado looks forward to being in the playoffs on a regular basis for the Cardinals, who have advanced to postseason play 14 times since 2000 with World Series championships in 2006 and 2011 during that span.
“Hopefully we can accomplish great things,” he said. “It is a little different. We are hopeful we can win the division. It feels good knowing that we have a chance to do that and a good chance. I am excited for that. I am excited for something new. Hopefully we can win and get to the playoffs.”
With his eight years in the league, Arenado is no stranger to having played in St. Louis while he was with the Rockies. He has vivid memories of those road matchups at Busch Stadium against the Redbirds.
“Obviously, going there, it’s a tough place to play,” he said. “It’s a fun place to play because of the fans. The fans appreciate great baseball but it was always tough playing them because they are really good and they always give us a hard time. It’s awesome. I am just really excited for this new chapter and I know my family is also.”
After having competed for Colorado against the likes of the Dodgers, Padres, Giants, and Diamondbacks in the NL West for the last eight years, Arenado anticipates the challenge of taking on some new faces in the competitive NL Central beginning this season.
“It’s a good division, good ballparks, good teams,” he said. “I am very excited to go and be a part of the rivalry with the Cubs. I am just excited for that new feeling. It’s going to be weird. I am so used to going to San Fran(cisco), L(os) A(ngeles). I feel like I know so many people there … I have been to Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, all those guys. I got to know all of them as well.
“I think I am really going to enjoy it. The goal is to win regardless of what is going on or what ballpark you are playing in. We are going to try to win the division and do the best we can.”
Only time will tell just what impact Arenado will have with the Cardinals. But, suffice to say, his shoes in the Rockies lineup will be difficult to fill as Colorado enters the 2021 campaign without the perennial All-Star.