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Nolan Arenado trade is a slap in the face to Colorado Rockies fans

Drew Creasman Avatar
February 1, 2021

It’s not that they did it, it’s how and why.

How they did it was haphazardly on a Friday night out of an offseason long cloud of darkness after already having poisoned the waters and alienated the people who’s love has long supported them.

Why they did it was for money. And pride.

When the Colorado Rockies – that is to say, when Dick Monfort and Jeff Bridich – traded Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals for a quartet of prospects most fans have never heard of while also agreeing to pay $50 million of his salary to play against them, they made it abundantly clear that their nightmare scenario was not one where the most talented third baseman of all time would leave them.

Their nightmare scenario was that he would stay and cost them money.

You see, if Arenado had hung around for a year and then opted out, it would only have cost the club $35 million. They would have saved more money under those circumstances and he would have played for them instead of, y’know, someone else.

They would have saved more money if they kept him longer but that would expose them to, I guess we will call it the potential risk of Arenado deciding to stay on the team. And then they would have to pay him what he’s worth!

The cash kicker in the deal shows how desperate they were not to be on the hook for the entire future of the deal, at apparently any cost necessary.

The refusal to take back any other veteran contracts like a Matt Carpenter, or former Rockie Dexter Fowler, or even throw in an extra $10 million and demand a better prospect haul, shows you everything you need to know that this deal was not designed to make the baseball team better.

Fans and media alike bemoan some of the terrible moves Colorado has been involved with over the last half decade. Or really their entire existence.

But even the terrible contracts given out to Ian Desmond, Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, and Wade Davis pale in comparison to this moment and this trade.

Each of those transactions was an attempt to make the team better. They, of course, ultimately failed, but at least the club was trying to acquire pieces that they thought were going to make them better.

Incompetence can be forgiven. But this wasn’t incompetence, this was greed.

They made no attempt, even in their own minds, to make the team better while dealing a surefire future Hall-of-Famer.

As someone who has been known to see the best of intentions in this franchise even when it feels like nobody else will, I’m left most frustrated by gasoline they’ve thrown on the fire lit by their own haters.

For years, decades even, the Monforts have been called cheap, the franchise itself a poverty one. A team that could never win a championship.

Every single one of their players, including the megastar they just traded, are underrated.

It’s been unfair for the organization and their fans.

The bits of joy that come in rooting for this team come in watching them overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds. They take their scrappy group of underdogs and take on a league that has become increasingly about an extreme lack of parity.

For some fans, it has never been enough because they’ve been so inconsistent. Those folks were going to be mad at an Arenado trade even if the return had been significantly better.

Its the fans who appreciate that the team at least made an effort in the past who are most broken by this.

Every fan who ever stood up and said “no, actually their payroll is middle-of-the-pack” or “you know, the hitters and pitchers really play at a disadvantage once you dig into it” or “man, the media has a lot of misconceptions about this team” just got slapped in the face by the people they’ve been defending this whole time.

Yes, I am one of them. But that is very much beside the point.

Because you see, its not the case that every time Monfort has had a chance to choose money over baseball he has done so.

It’s also not true that the Party Deck or McGregor Square have anything to do with this financial squeeze.

But what does that matter anymore? Why continue to point out all the small inconsistencies and poor logic applied to this team? Why go through the effort if they won’t?

Whether Monfort cares more about money than he does about winning is a question that only he can answer but for the outside world all we can see is that green bills were the most important factor in the worst move in franchise history. Maybe MLB history.

The team didn’t getter better. They didn’t get resources to make them better in the future except for maybe some money. And this group has lost any benefit of the doubt they may have had from even their most ardent defenders to believe that money will end up anywhere other than a billionaire’s bank account.

It was a monumentally bad trade not because it happened at all. There were plenty of ways in which Colorado could have moved on from Arenado and put themselves in a position to compete, either in the immediate or long term.

Instead, they chose not to.

They didn’t fail to because of a lack of understanding of potential incoming players. The didn’t get swindled. They didn’t get beaten by a genius St. Louis Cardinals front office. They beat themselves.

They did the one thing in sports you are never supposed to do.

They gave up.

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