Happy Anniversary! One year ago yesterday, the Rockies officially announced they had agreed to an eight-year extension with all-world third baseman Nolan Arenado! Let’s check and see how they celebrated.
Look! A home run! Things must be really swell!
Well, boogers. Here we have Nolan Arenado giving another interview to another national baseball reporter and, yet again, it isn't pretty. Phrases like "ugliest divorce" are thrown around and there's little evidence that any sort of speaking relationships have been re-established between Arenado and general manager Jeff Bridich.
There are a few bits of clarity that the USA Today interview gives. Nolan says he has regrets looking back on his contract signed one year ago yesterday. His frustration wasn't with not getting traded, but that the trade rumors swirled so vociferously all winter. Now that spring training is in full swing he's ready and willing to be focused on baseball. He also says, "I'd rather win a World Series than have my number retired."
If you want to take any solace from this interview, it can be found. For all the certainty thrown around ("when the Rockies will again try to movie him," emphasis mine), this is Bob Nightengale, who's track record on these issues is so bad certain subreddits won't allow him to be cited as a source anymore. The other is the closing comment:
“You can say last year was a shock to everyone by the way we played,’’ Arenado says. “But it happens again this year, it starts to become a trend. Then, the whole organization has to look at themselves and say, ‘Ok, what’s the next step?’
“I guarantee I’ll be part of that conversation.’’
An optimist can look at that and say Nolan will throw his weight around with management to push for changes. A pessimist can look at that and see a demand for a trade looming. However you look at it, it seems the only way out of “baseball’s ugliest divorce" is for the Rockies to win enough to convince Nolan that next offseason they’ll be able to spend.
One thing that would not help the process of the Rockies getting back to contention would be Kyle Freeland not only not bouncing back but getting hurt as well. Despite the alarming headline, nobody seems to be too concerned about the back spasms and Freeland seems to feel pretty good about how the new delivery is working so far. He'll pitch again next week and hopefully we'll see a bit more out of him then.
One thing that would go a long way towards the Rockies winning in 2020 would be if Sam Hilliard built upon the promise of a hot September. This is one of those articles that makes you glad you have/wish you had an Athletic subscription. Nick Groke and Hilliard break down each of Hilliard’s four homers from September. If you don’t have access to a subscription, one of the more salient takeaways is Hilliard’s focus on a process-oriented approach at the plate going into 2020. We’ll see if that makes for more success and more playing time.
One of the more fun things about Spring Training is getting to see all sorts of guys from the system play together on a major league field. Bret Boswell only made it onto three ballots on our latest PuRP polling but he’s having a heck of a spring already. Noah Yingling has more.
Justin Lawrence dominated A-ball in 2018 en route to a stellar stint in the Arizona Fall League. Then he struggled in 2019 and got hit with a suspension for violating MLB's performance enhancing drugs policy. While he's saying all the right things, it's also hard not to feel skeptical about his blaming a "contamination" of a legal supplement. He's still got a long way to go until he can pitch again, though, and he'll likely need all the help he can get.