DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado made it clear Monday he’s unhappy with the club.
After general manager Jeff Bridich told the Denver Post, “We have listened to teams regarding Nolan and really nothing has come of it. We are going to move forward pretty much as we expected -- with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman. So we can put this to bed …,” Arenado reacted via text to MLB.com.
“There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of,” Arenado said in a text. “You can quote that.”
In reaction to Bridich’s announcement, Arenado elaborated.
“You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there,” Arenado said. “There is a lot of disrespect.”
Asked what was said that he found particularly disrespectful, Arenado said, "No. I won't get into the details."
Arenado clarified his statement later, adding, "I'm not mad at the trade rumors. There's more to it."
When reached via text, Bridich said he would respond soon to Arenado's comment.
It was Arenado’s first public statement since it was revealed during the Winter Meetings that teams were asking about Arenado's availability and the Rockies were listening. Arenado is entering the second year of an eight-year, $260 million deal. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and allows Arenado to opt out after the 2021 season.
Arenado signed the deal last Spring Training, after the Rockies had been to the postseason the previous two years. But the Rockies plummeted to 71-91 last season for myriad reasons -- poor pitching in both the rotation and the bullpen, and pitching injuries and slumps at times by key players.
Arenado was quoted in an interview with The Athletic, at least in part, that the end of the year "feels like a rebuild," although in full context he said he realized that players were playing for 2020 and he needed to "lead by example." But he has made it clear the team needed to make improvements. However, the Rockies have not made a trade or signed any Major League free agents this offseason.
Arenado, 28, is a five-time All-Star who has won the Gold Glove Award each of his seven seasons, and he's hit at least 37 homers in each of the past five. Last season, despite the Rockies' struggles, Arenado slashed .315/.379/.583 and hit 41 home runs with 118 RBIs.
Arenado has been linked most prominently to the Cardinals, Braves and Rangers in trade rumors. Teams such as the Dodgers and White Sox also have been linked in various reports.
During a season-ending meeting with local media, Bridich was asked about Arenado’s "rebuild" quote. Bridich said he did not know the full context, but added, “If we were truly in a rebuild, Nolan Arenado probably wouldn’t be here to make comments like that.”
Club owner Dick Monfort added, “I haven’t seen many rebuilds that start with signing the face of your franchise, your best player, to a $260 million contract.”
At that time and throughout the offseason, the Rockies have contended that returning to the postseason in 2020 would be largely dependent on players currently on the roster getting better.
The Rockies’ 2019 total adjusted payroll, according to Spotrac, was a club-record $157.1 million. Even with no Major League additions, Cot’s Baseball Contracts has the current running payroll at $152.9 million.
In addition to Arenado, who is due $35 million in 2020, the Rockies have commitments to outfielder Charlie Blackmon ($21 million), reliever Wade Davis ($17 million, plus a $1 million buyout on a 2021 mutual option, which becomes a $15 million player option if he finishes 30 games), utility man Ian Desmond ($15 million), first baseman Daniel Murphy ($8 million, plus a $6 million buyout on a 2021 mutual option), and commitments of $9 million and $9.5 million, respectively, to relief pitchers Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee, who each have $2 million buyouts on options that could be triggered by performance bonuses.
Also, arbitration-eligible shortstop Trevor Story, who made $5 million in 2019, is seeking $11.5 million while the club has offered $10.75 million. The club has identified Story and right-handed starting pitcher Jon Gray, who avoided arbitration at $5.6 million, as candidates for multiyear contracts.
Still pending are the arbitration cases of Story and catcher Tony Wolters (requesting $2.475 million versus the club’s $1.9 million offer), and low-service-time players have yet to be signed.
Other clubs first approached the Rockies about Gray, then turned their attention to Arenado during the Winter Meetings. Bridich said at the time the talks were more due diligence than momentum toward a deal.
“Look, this is the time of year where those conversations happen. This is the time of year where we at least listen to teams and go, 'OK, well, should we try to investigate and put something together?' That's what these jobs are. We have people to do those sorts of things. I can't sit here and go, 'No, never, ever.'”
In other words, he said, teams were saying, “Don’t just go do something crazy without us.”
Bridich added at the Winter Meetings that he and Arenado had talked.
"We sat with him, like we have every year," Bridich said. "We talked about the team, we talked about the season, we talked about the organization. We didn't specifically talk about this [trade rumors]. We'll see; if it gets to that point, then it gets to that point."
Last month, Arenado declined to respond to the rumors, only saying, “I'm getting ready like I do every year.”
His statement Monday made it clear he feels “disrespected” for reasons much deeper than rumors.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.