In a recent sit-down with MLB.com at Citi Field, Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado answered a wide range of topics from his time in St. Louis to his regrets with the Rockies.
MLB.com: You were traded to the Cardinals last February … what do you like about the city of St. Louis?
Nolan Arenado: I like everything. It’s a Midwest town. It has Midwest people. They are very generous. It’s kind of old school. It’s an old-school feeling of people who are still trying to help people all the time. My neighbors are great. We bring our dog in their backyard. Cool stuff like that. St. Louis is more family oriented.
MLB.com: What kind of season do you think you are having? The RBIs are there, the batting average isn’t and that’s unlike you.
Arenado: That’s a good question. I don’t know how to describe the season. I’ve hit 30 homers. I will hopefully drive in 100 RBIs. There are some goals that I definitely accomplished. But there are a few that I have not and I’m not going to accomplish what I set for myself.
MLB.com: What are they?
Arenado: Obviously, you want to hit for average. I don’t want to get into the other goals I didn’t reach. … It’s kind of frustrating, but, at the end of the day, the main goal is to win. We have a chance. That’s all you can ask for. I’m trying to help contribute.
MLB.com: People will say it's low because you are out of Coors Field. What do you say about that?
Arenado: Everybody has a right to their own assumptions. I know what I can do better. I know what I have to do to get better. Coors is a big outfield, but so is St. Louis. I think this year compared to years past, I’ve done a really bad job using the other side of the field. I’m really pull happy this year. I’m very rotational in my swing. You are not going to hit for average like that. If you want to hit for average in this game, you have to be able to use the whole field. I haven’t been able to do that. For whatever reason -- I don’t know why -- I pull the ball a lot. That’s always who I am, but I’ve done it a little too much. In the past, I would take my knocks the other way. This year, I’m not really doing that.
MLB.com: So in order to improve your batting average, you have to hit the ball to right field, you are saying?
Arenado: Absolutely. I think the best players in the game that hit for average -- Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, back in the day -- the reason they were so elite is because they were able to hit the ball all over the field. J.D. Martinez is a perfect example of that. He has power all over the field. Bryce Harper is another one. I have not done that this year. It’s costing me to hit for average and get on base.
MLB.com: You are close to 100 RBIs. Once you reach the century mark, you will be the first member of the Cardinals to reach that mark since Matt Holliday in 2012. That’s a long time.
Arenado: That is a long time. I’ll feel good once I’m able to do it. To sit here and say this year for me hasn’t been good at all will be the wrong way to look at it, [Hitting 30 home runs and driving in 100 runs] are pretty good, great things. But going into the offseason, whenever that is, I feel I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.
MLB.com: What does Holliday mean to you? I understand he is a hero of yours.
Arenado: Matty is just a great friend, a great mentor. He is an amazing man, amazing dad. Someone that I look up to. I’m very thankful to have him as a friend. Him and his wife, Leslee, are great people I can rely on.
MLB.com: What is the biggest thing Holliday ever taught you?
Arenado: It’s trying to slow the game down. We talk a lot about swings -- stuff like that. He understands how hard it is. We talk a lot about swings. That’s the main topic.
MLB.com: I also read Adrian Beltre is another hero of yours.
Arenado: Being a Dodger, being a third baseman, elite, one of the best. He was a really special player. Hall of Famer. No question about that. He has longevity. Everything you want in a player, Adrian Beltre does that.
MLB.com: How does your wife, Laura, feel about St. Louis?
Arenado: She loves it, which is huge because you want your whole family on board. My wife loves it. My parents love it. My brothers love it. It’s been great. Awesome.
MLB.com: I remember when you were in Colorado, your parents and your brothers were a big deal in your life.
Arenado: Yeah, for sure. My family is a huge deal. Not only my brothers and parents, my cousins. The whole Arenado clan. Everyone that has an Arenado on their name is pretty special to me.
MLB.com: Why did you decide to include them in your baseball life?
Arenado: I think they included me in baseball. My Dad is the one that showed me the game. At the same time, I know this is my road. My family is part of it. I just need them around. I need their support. I need their guidance, because they know me better than anybody.
MLB.com: You still make your offseason home in California. In the future -- I’m not saying now or two years from now -- would you like to play in California?
Arenado: I don’t know. I think it would be pretty special to go home and play, but that comes with a lot of tickets and a lot of other things, a lot of distractions. We’ll see. I love St. Louis. I would like to be here for a long time. Once they are sick of me, whenever that is, maybe it would be pretty cool to go home and play baseball for sure.
MLB.com: Do you miss Colorado? Why?
Arenado: I miss certain things about Colorado. I don’t necessarily miss the type of games we played. The long games. In Colorado, there were some long games, man. I don’t really miss that. I do miss some of the people there. I miss where I lived downtown. I loved that spot. Some of the food that I ate in Denver I loved. There are things that I missed.
MLB.com: If you had to do it all over again with the Rockies, what would that be?
Arenado: That’s a good question. If I had to do it over again, I guess I would have been more oblivious or I wouldn’t be paying attention and I wouldn’t have asked to be included in meetings about the team and how we could get better. I wish I would have been just more of a player, just leave me alone. I’ll go play baseball. Everyone else take care of everything else. Just focus on playing the game and that’s it.
MLB.com: But doesn’t it show how much you care?
Arenado: Yeah, for sure. With that comes a little baggage, which I could handle. I can handle the criticism I deserve and I deserved that. I do care. That’s why I did it. I wish I cared a little bit less.
MLB.com: Tell me what your emotions were like when you played the Rockies earlier in the season.
Arenado: They were weird, especially facing guys that I liked. There a few guys on that team I don’t really know. But when you face Germán Márquez, you see Trevor Story out there, guys that I care about, it’s always a little awkward.
MLB.com: Are you still the best third baseman in baseball?
Arenado: I don’t know. There are some good ones out there. I feel like I’m holding up my end of the bargain. I still feel I’m doing a very good job. I’m always saying that I can always get better. I’ll let the critics talk about that.
MLB.com: Ever since you have been in the big leagues, you have won the Gold Glove Award every year. Are you better than Brooks Robinson?
Arenado: Brooks has got me. Mike Schmidt has got me. Those guys are the best. Scott Rolen is up there, too. It’s cool to be in those conversations. That’s good enough for me.