The Rockies’ star third basemen reports to Spring Training on Sunday. He should expect a warm welcome—despite currently hitting about ten miles from Salt River Fields.
Yahoo’s MLB columnist Tim Brown spoke with Arenado at his current field of choice: Arizona State’s Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
“You know what, and I want you please to write this down, the perception of me right now, some people have different things, right?” he said. “It’s, ‘Oh, you make money, keep your mouth shut. You signed this deal and this and that.’ But, at the end of the day, man, people misunderstand. Us, as players, we only get one chance at this. I only get one chance at this. I have seven years left on my deal. I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. And I want to win.”
The basics of the current rift: Arenado wants to win, and general manager Jeff Bridich doesn’t have the money to pull it together. This oversimplification dismisses a lot of behind-the-scenes the public may never know about. Bridich and Arenado had to have spoken at length leading up to an eight-year, $260 million extension. Arenado had to have expressed his desire to win last year during those negotiations, or today’s headline would be likely nonexistent.
Arenado’s discontempt may hint that Bridich began to contradict himself about winning. It isn’t fair to demean the general manager when we don’t know his exact words, but one can attempt to reason with what we do know. When Bridich declines to comment, there has to be something he’s averse of.
It’s hard not to speak poetic about the Arenado brothers, Nolan and Jonah, and their mornings this February. They take rounds of batting practice and ground balls under the Arizona sun, in an intimate 8,000-seat stadium, music playing throughout, temperature looming around 70. “He hit and hit some more and then took grounders off Jonah’s fungo bat and then more out of Jonah’s hand before finding a shady spot on the Sun Devils’ bench. He soaked his black T-shirt and sweat hung in his beard. His eyes were bright. He loves these mornings.”
Nolan and Jonah Arenado remind us what life is about. How sweet it is.
Arenado’s absence from Salt River Fields leave people curious of the true reception he’ll receive upon his Sunday arrival. All that matters is the reception of his teammates and coaches. He isn’t violating anything since he doesn’t have to be there yet, but opting to hit ten miles away pushes the narrative.
Arenado mentions how he regrets having “teammates answering questions for [him].” Those teammates likely know a thing or two about how to sidestep comments, and they could have easily seen them coming at an event like Rockies Fest.
If Arenado has fears of being misunderstood, it probably isn’t amongst teammates that understand the profession the most. Every single player for the Rockies should share a desire to win. That simple fact alone should prove Arenado will be paraded into Salt River Fields upon arrival by those lacing up spikes.
“In a couple days he will walk back into a clubhouse filled with teammates he adores. That will be good enough, he said.” It sounds like he’ll be celebrated and christened for his pursuit of excellence—a good guy striving for the best.
General manager Jeff Bridich might distance himself from that clubhouse as much as possible Sunday.
Minor leaguers living off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches rejoice. A minor league salary boost of at least 38 percent is on its’ way for minor league players.
In comparison to an MLB-minimum salary of over $500,000, the minor league salaries still peril. It’s nonetheless a great boost to those suffering from poor living conditions in the minors.
The salary boost comes amidst ongoing conversation of potential cutbacks of teams in the minor leagues. The boost may not mean anything in regards to those cuts, but they further the conversation on minor league financing.
Thomas Harding’s predictions: Arenado is dealt, Sam Hilliard is for real, and Wade Davis will start as the closer.
Harding admits the Arenado prediction “isn’t fun to write.” He goes on to say that if there isn’t immediate pitching, hitting and prospects in return, it shouldn’t happen.
He says Hilliard will have an exceptional spring in the Cactus League. Hilliard is currently pitted against Raimel Tapia and Ian Desmond as a presumable outfield starter. Harding also says Bud Black could protect Hilliard early in the year. Given his forecast, we may not get a true understanding of the actual starting outfield until several weeks into the regular season.
He says Wade Davis will be the closer to start the year. There isn’t much explanation to his prediction other than the health of Davis and how well he performed before an oblique strain last year. If the key to Davis’ successes is a recovered body, the offseason recovery will do him well. His action in Arizona this next month can give us an early look.