Rockies on board with Arenado's call for action

June 30th, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- 's words have clout, but what's important is there are plenty around the Rockies who agree with him.
After making it to the National League Wild Card Game last year, the Rockies entered Friday night's opener of a three-game series against the Dodgers three games under .500 and frustrated about it. Arenado made headlines when he told The Athletic in a story published Thursday night:
"I don't want to lose anymore. I've only been to the playoffs once, and it was only one game. And I really want more than that."
Arenado said Friday he wasn't speaking out of turn, nor was he calling out teammates or the front office that put the team together. The comments carried more weight because of the approaching July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Teams usually decide before then whether they're buyers willing to augment the big league roster, or sellers that deal veterans in exchange for Minor League prospects with an eye toward the future.
"If we don't win, no one's going to be happy," said Arenado, who hit his 20th homer of the season in Friday's 3-1 win over the Dodgers. "That's what it's all about. I try to lead by example. If I'm going to lead this team, I'm going to lead with them. I won't do it through the media. That wouldn't be my type of way. My type of way would be to talk with them individually. I'm trying to go about my business and help this team win."

As important, general manager Jeff Bridich took the comments as a player asking everyone to pull together. The pitching carried the team early this season, when it led the division. The hitting has picked up since the last week of May, but short and ineffective work by the rotation plus poor outings and injuries to the bullpen have dragged the record downward.
"I personally did not take it, at the time, that he was speaking to me or Dick Monfort [Rockies owner and CEO]," Bridich said. "That's really hasn't been part of our relationship, where conversations have been going on through the media.
"I think a lot of what he said is true. I think everybody is frustrated, and I'm not sure anybody in this industry that I have met enjoys losing. I think there was some truisms there, but pretty general to any competitive situation, especially in a season when there are [high] expectations ... building off things that went on last year."
Bridich noted that the signings of veteran players such as closer , relievers (on the disabled list and needing the down time to address the problems that lead to a 7.57 ERA) and Jake McGee was to give the Rockies players who have gone through these types of ebbs and flows. Veteran players said Arenado's comments were not signs that the team is splintering in frustration -- always a concern in difficult times.
"We've already talked to each other a lot of times," outfielder said. "We understand we have a great possibility to do something special this year and it's up to us.
"The guys that we have here can have a really good year. We have to keep working hard to make that happen."
Bridich used the D-backs, who lost 15 of 17 in May but are still in first place in the NL West, as an example of teams finding success after adversity. He believes getting through tough times like this, along with the improving health of the bullpen, can be key as the Rockies try to return to the postseason. He has to see all that develop before making a decision about the Trade Deadline.
"We are in a focus-on-playing-better-baseball-today mode," Bridich said. "This team has not played as well as we had hoped. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us and nobody is going to come to our rescue.
"It's on us to fix it. There is no magic pill or there's no magic lifeline."
Manager Bud Black said part of his job is to make sure the urgency that the Trade Deadline offers doesn't cause emotional instability.
"Some of my messaging in Spring Training is we should always play with a high degree of intensity, even in a Spring Training game, in a regular-season game, in a playoff game," Black said. "You can't ride the rollercoaster of urgency. You've gotta play good all the time. Good teams play good all the time."
There's no time like now, Arenado said.
"You can't continue to say we've got a lot of games left," he said. "We were saying we have a lot of games left in April, we were saying we have a lot of games left in May and we're about to be in July. We've got to start winning ballgames. It starts with looking ourselves in the mirror and trying to make a change."