Rockies Mailbag: What will Nolan Arenado do, and does Colorado need a second baseman?

Denver Post sports journalist Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies Mailbag.

Ask a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies Mailbag.

Does Nolan Arenado want to win bad enough to forgo the money on his contract and sign out, knowing that his next deal (with presumably a winning team) would be significantly less?

– Marcus Farrell, Denver

Marcus, that’s the six-year question, $ 199 million. That’s what’s left in Arenado’s eight-year $ 260 million deal.

As much as Arenado wants to play for a winner – and make no mistake, he desperately wants that – I don’t think he will opt out.

There are three main reasons.

For one, that’s a huge amount of money for Arenado to give up, and you’re right, given baseball’s current financial environment, he’s unlikely to strike another deal as lucrative as his current one.

Second, Arenado could still hope that the Rockies will trade him once baseball returns to “normal”. Keep in mind that he has a full no-trade clause in his contract so he can theoretically help steer the deal.

Three, Arenado’s baseball brothers wouldn’t look at him kindly if he turned down huge money. Keep in mind that the MLB Players Association is an important part of the equation. The players are a fraternity and if one player signs a mega deal, it helps the rest of the players. While Arenado debated signing the contract, he was in frequent contact with the MLBPA. The input from the union is important to him.

Players have opted out of large contracts before, but usually only for more money or a longer deal. Consider Alex Rodriguez’s deal with the Yankees. In December 2007, A-Rod agreed to a $ 275 million 10-year deal with the Yankees, a deal that came only after he pulled out of the last three years of his original $ 252 million 10-year contract that allowed he drew. the Texas Rangers.

Can you see the Rockies getting a skilled second baseman since they already have Josh Fuentes, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado? Do you also see them getting another starter in the rotation with the inconsistencies they’ve had?

Gabriel Guerrero, Fort Lupton

Gabriel, I think the Rockies already have a “competent” second baseman with Ryan McMahon.

I still believe he has a ton of talent and I love his reach and athleticism. Should he be more consistent? Yes. In 2020, McMahon committed seven errors in 248 innings for a .947 fielding percentage. In 2019, he committed 13 errors in 860 innings for a .972 field percentage.

McMahon also fell back on the record. In 2019, he hit .250 with a .779 OPS while striking out 29.7% of the time. In 2020, McMahon hit .215 with a .714 OPS with a 34.2 strikeout percentage. He has to bounce back, but I think he will.

As for your question about a starting pitcher, I don’t think the Rockies will look outside the organization to add another starter. They hope that right-handed Ryan Castellani will take a big step forward. The same goes for Chi Chi Gonzalez. And there’s a chance that left-handed Ryan Rolison will make his debut and be part of the 2021 rotation.

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Rolison has yet to pitch above the high-A Lancaster, but he pitched in college and has a good feel for his stuff.

Patrick, I saw you spoke to Todd Helton for your Hall of Fame story. I wonder how he is doing? We don’t hear much about him.

Trevor, Greeley

Trevor, I talked to Helton about his personal life. That conversation will continue between the two of us. But it’s no secret that he’s had some struggles, including two arrests for DUI, most recently in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2019.

Helton told me something – on the record – that I found very interesting.

“I thought I was ready to retire and stuff,” he said. “But if I had to do it all over again, I would have stayed in the game right after I retired. I would have stayed with the Rockies as a special assistant. It would have been a better decision. It would have given me some structure. “

Helton said he still has a close relationship with Rockies owner Dick Monfort. However, he said there are currently no plans to rejoin Helton with the Rockies organization.

Was DJ LeMahieu a clubhouse leader? And is some of the last two years due to the unfavorable reactions from players to the fact that he didn’t even get an offer?

Kenneth Bell, Greeley

Kenneth, LeMahieu was a clubhouse leader with the Rockies, but not in the traditional sense. He was by no means a rah-rah man and he didn’t say much, but his teammates thought he was the strongest player on the field. He was without a doubt a beloved teammate.

Were some of his teammates upset when the Rockies failed to re-sign him after the 2018 season? Definitely. At the same time, they were delighted that he was finding success in New York.

That said, the players’ reaction to LeMahieu’s departure is only a very small part of what has gone wrong with the Rockies over the past two seasons.

I read your article on ownership of the Rockies that doesn’t do a year-end question / answer session. I think that’s a bit childish on their part as it seems they don’t want to be held responsible for the team’s problems. But my question has to do with the Rays and the way they do things. I asked you this question and you said you don’t think the way the Rays run things would work here. I do not agree with that. Dick Monfort wants a player he can advertise to get people in the stands. The Rays do not have a player comparable to Arenado. What they do have is good starting pitching, an abundance of relievers and decent fielders. If the property did it this way, I think we would be a contender year after year. We don’t need a face of the franchise here to put the back in the seats; a winning team would put more back in the seats. Your thoughts?

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– Dial

Del, first of all, I was disappointed that the Rockies decided not to speak to the media after the 2020 season ended. I was repeatedly told that we would have the opportunity to speak to CEO Jeff Bridich about the team’s condition. Then I was told this didn’t happen until the Rockies had news to report.

As for the Rays vs. Rockies, I think you and I disagree on a number of points. For one thing, history has taught us that the Rockies will probably never be able to pitch as well as teams at sea level. Yes, pitching is important to Colorado’s success, but putting together a stable of pitchers as deep as the Rays’ would be very difficult at high altitudes. For example, pitchers of free resources are reluctant to come to Colorado. I think the Rockies need to strike a balance between solid pitching and dynamic attack. At the moment they are missing both.

Also keep in mind that in 2019 the Rockies drew nearly 3 million fans to Coors Field (36,953 per game), while the Rays drew nearly 1.3 million fans (14,734) to Tropicana Field. Central to Dick Monfort’s business model is attracting fans to Coors Field.

Given the statements about how hard the team has been hit financially this year, how likely is it that Jeff Bridich Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado and some will start pitching for an arsenal of future prospects, cutting payroll significantly? Compared to keeping one of them and having a different .500 team.

– Chris Ringwood, Denver

Chris, I don’t think the Rockies will be trading both Arenado and Story. Maybe one, but not both. And given that the club will have control of Germany’s Marquez, Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland for years to come, at a reasonable price, it looks like they aren’t trading the top three pitchers. Can right-handed Jon Gray be traded before becoming a free agent after 2021? Yes, that’s possible.

The bottom line: I don’t see the Rockies completely taken down and then rebuilt.

I understand that the Dallas MLB owners meeting has been canceled this year. Is this meeting held at a distance and how does this affect the low season?

– Judy Frieman, Denver

Judy, you are right, although it is not the owners’ meetings, but the annual winter gatherings that have been canceled. The winter meetings were scheduled for December 7-10 in Dallas. Now the interaction between the front offices, agents and players of teams will take place virtually. Negotiations are increasingly taking place via text messages, phone calls and FaceTime on computers. Now we can add Zoom to the list. I really don’t think that not having the “convention” that is the Winter Gathering is going to change things that much.

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Ken Rosenthal noted in one of his recent articles that it is the Rockies willing to accept big leaguers in exchange for a Nolan Arenado trade. They like to compete and build around Trevor Story, rather than a pack of potential customers in return. Have you heard anything like that? I imagine this changes the number of suitors the Rockies will reach.

– James, Denver

I agree with what Rosenthal wrote. However, as Rosenthal also noted, “The chances of such a deal taking place are slim, especially when teams may prefer to wait for a member of the Great Free Agent Shortstop Class from 2021-22. But then again, what choice do the Rockies have to try? It would be foolish to trade Story and keep Arenado if they already know about Arenado’s discontent. “

The problem, of course, is the scope of Arenado’s contract. He is due $ 35 million in 2021 and a total of $ 199 million over the last six years of his contract.

What do you think the fan response would be if the Rockies management said the word ‘rebuild’? (I saw somewhere that the Rockies were last in the team rankings in 30th place).

– Ken Fonda, Greeley

Ken, I honestly don’t know what the reaction would be. I suspect it would be split between those fans who think a rebuild is absolutely necessary and those who think a few protagonists can change the team. The frustrating part of the dilemma is that the Rockies don’t seem to be in a position to add major players.

It’s almost time to start planning the annual pilgrimage to Scottsdale. Have you heard from the Rockies about fans during spring training?

Jeff, Elizabeth

Jeff, you’re not alone in wondering if there will be traditional spring training, delayed spring training, or no spring training at all. As it stands, teams are aiming for Feb. 15 to open camps, but much depends on the coronavirus and a possible vaccine.

As for fans in the stands, it’s too early to tell. I wish I had a more definitive answer for you.

Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies Mailbag.

Ask a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies Mailbag.