But even after all this time, Arenado says he isn't demoralized -- and the Rockies echo his sentiments.
The Rockies entered Friday two games behind the Dodgers in the National League West and 1 1/2 game behind the D-Backs, with Colorado players feeling they are contenders, whether they make a move -- most likely for a late-game reliever -- or not before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling's quote in the Los Angeles Times on the night of the All-Star Game, before the deal was final, suggested that the move could be a mental blow to the rest of the division.
"I think it would be pretty demoralizing" for the other teams, he said. He listed several pitchers and hitters and added: "That's almost a superteam, I feel like, on paper."
Let's say Arenado, playing for a club that won 13 of its last 16 before the All-Star break, wasn't cowering.
"Just continue to do what we do, which is win ballgames," Arenado said. "We continue to play great baseball. That's only our focus.
"It's not the Los Angeles Manny Machados. It's the Los Angeles Dodgers. They're a team and they're good. He changes their lineup, for sure, but our lineup is pretty deep, too. I think we're going to be just fine. We've got to focus on us."
All-star shortstop Trevor Story smiled when he heard the quote.
"That really has nothing to do with us and our team," Story said. "He's a great player. Definitely good for them that they added him. But it's not like we would be demoralized or anything like that."
Position players were more impressed when the Dodgers added starting pitcher Yu Darvish last year.
"There's going to be a bit of a learning curve, adjustment period," All-Star center fielder Charlie Blackmon said. "That's not something we're going to have to deal with. That's something the Dodgers have to deal with, and Manny will have to adjust to a new league. I think it's different from getting a dominant pitcher. It's tougher for a position player to come in and have an impact."
Arenado, in an interview with The Athletic in late June, mentioned that the Dodgers (and D-backs) were likely to make moves, and pointed out that the Machado move is "what the Dodgers do." But he has insisted he was merely stating a fact, not asking general manager Jeff Bridich to one-up other teams. Veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said in no uncertain terms that players taking their focus away from their play and toward their front office is counterproductive.
"It's pretty much wrong to say that," Gonzalez said. "It doesn't mean we're going to start the game losing, 5-0, just because they have Manny Machado.
"We're confident in the guys that we have. Our lineup is strong without adding anybody. We know our weaknesses, we know our strengths and we know what we have to do to be on top of this division."
Manager Bud Black, noting the Rockies are "the opposite" of demoralized, said it's worthwhile to address the buzz that comes with a big-market club making moves.
"Have there been times that I've talked to players and teams as it relates to the Trade Deadline? Yes," Black said. "But the message is focus on what we have here -- focus on our game, focus on your game."
• After throwing an aggressive bullpen of about 35 pitches, righty Antonio Senzatela will start Sunday's series finale with the D-backs. Senzatela missed his last start before the break because of an infected blister on his right middle finger. But Senzatela felt fine throwing his slider -- the pitch most affected by a blister.
• After an off-day Monday, the Rockies will start lefty Tyler Anderson on Tuesday and righty Jon Gray on Wednesday in a two-game set with the Astros at Coors Field.
• Righty Chad Bettis, who hasn't pitched since July 1 because of a right middle finger blister, will pitch Saturday for Triple-A Albuquerque on an injury rehab assignment. Black said there is no prescribed pitch count. Additionally, lefty reliver Harrison Musgrave (right hip flexor strain) is scheduled for two innings in the same game.