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Jeff Bridich and Nolan Arenado break their silences on the swirling trade rumors

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Well, that escalated quickly.

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Wednesday: Arenado issued the following statement:

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Tuesday: Jeff Passan of ESPN reports sources tell him Arenado’s frustration is indeed over inactivity from the front office this offseason. The organization is reportedly “puzzled by Arenado’s questioning of its leadership and future.”

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Monday, 10:33 PM MT: More information about Arenado’s comments was texted to Denver7 News. Here’s what Arenado had to say about Bridich:

“Jeff is very disrespectful. I never talk trash or anything. I play hard, keep my mouth shut. But I can only get crossed so many times.”

It was reported earlier this evening that Bridich will issue a response to Arenado’s statements soon.

The story as originally published follows:

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It’s been a winter of trade rumors surrounding Nolan Arenado. However, on Monday evening, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reported the Colorado Rockies were no longer exploring trades involving Arenado. General Manager Jeff Bridich stated the Rockies had been listening to teams, but they now will be spending the rest of the offseason looking forward going to spring training with Arenado as their star third baseman. Sigh of relief, right?

Wrong.

Shortly after Bridich’s comments were reported, Saunders and Thomas Harding of MLB.com both shared word that Arenado said he was feeling “disrespected.” Here’s the entire text message from Arenado, as reported by Harding:

“There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of. You can quote that.”

“You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there. There is a lot of disrespect.”

“No. I won’t get into the details.”

“I’m not mad at the trade rumors. There’s more to it.”

Bridich told Harding he would respond to Arenado’s comments soon.

And here’s what I had to say:

Jon Morosi of MLB.com first tweeted about the Rockies involving Arenado’s name in trade talks on December 11, 2019. There’s been much debate over how much credence to give to these rumors. At Purple Row, we’ve written about how Bridich could make the typhoon of rumors go away by simply breaking his silence. Over a month later, he finally has. And Arenado has broken his silence as well.

Troy Renck of Denver7 News makes the following point:

Nick Groke of The Athletic echoed these sentiments.

There’s no denying it. There is a common thread here.

All of this also comes on the day when there were unconfirmed reports from this morning in which Scott Hastings of Hastings, Harris and Dover on Altitude Sports Radio reported that Arenado and Bridich nearly “came to blows” due to Arenado’s “It feels like a rebuild” comment from September (h/t @303toNYC for bringing this to our attention).

“This has a chance to get very ugly,” says Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Passan’s point about Arenado wanting out of Colorado is an interesting one. This may be correct at this juncture, but I don’t believe Arenado and his camp were taking this position at the beginning of the offseason.

Rather, the fact that the club has not made any efforts to improve from outside the organization (they are one of a very small number of teams that still has not signed a single free agent to a guaranteed major league contract and also haven’t made a single trade) probably plays a role in where we are. When Arenado signed his eight-year, $260 million contract prior to the 2019 season, he was promised years of winning baseball to come. After a 71-91 season, Bridich and Rockies’ co-owner Dick Monfort are still saying they expect a rebound campaign from the Rockies in 2020—relying on the same roster as before.

Added to this is Arenado’s name being dangled in trade rumors. I’m not privy to discussions between Arenado and Bridich, but it stands to reason to me that if Arenado is feeling “disrespected,” the communication with him regarding the trade rumors wasn’t satisfactory. Arenado did say he wasn’t mad at the trade rumors, but the lack of communication as a whole may be the story here.

Arenado has a full no-trade clause. He also has an opt-out in his contract after the 2021 season. If the ball is in anyone’s court, it’s in Arenado’s.