Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort said Tuesday that Nolan Arenado wanted to move on.
And the Rockies obliged, trading the five-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner to the St. Louis Cardinals for left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber and four minor leaguers.
"In 2019, we signed Nolan to what I would call a career contract, something we were committed to," Monfort said in a Zoom call with reporters. "Nine months later, Nolan asked us to look for a trade."
Monfort said he is not exactly sure why Arenado requested a trade.
"I reach back to everything," Monfort said. "In all our conversations with him, he never just said it was this or that."
Monfort said that left the Rockies with two choices.
"We had the choice of waiting until the end of the year and letting him opt-out." Monfort said. "That probably would have been the popular decision. We would have paid Nolan $35 million and we would have received one draft pick at the end of the year. What we ended up doing was we deferred some money, we paid him some money over time and we were able to pick up five players," Monfort explained.
Arenado's relationship with General Manager Jeff Bridich deteriorated during the 2019 season.
"There are relationships that do last forever," Bridich said. "But we are human beings in a business where sometimes relationships don't last forever."
After playoff appearances in 2017 and 2018, the Rockies stumbled to a 71-91 record in 2019 and then were 26-34 in the 2020 COVID-shortened season.
"If you're looking to parse out blame, you can thrown the blame right on me," Bridich said for the team's struggles the last two years.
While Monfort and Bridich were speaking to reporters, the Cardinals introduced Arenado.
"The last few years were tough in Colorado," Arenado said. "But I'm not part of that team any more and don't have a whole lot to say about where they're headed or where they're not. I just know I'm joining a great team and I did the best I could there."
The order of questions/topics in the Rockies Zoom call:
1) Thomas Harding, MLB.com - Is this a Rockies rebuild? Trevor Story in 2021?
2) Patrick Saunders, Denver Post - Was the trade primarily a financial decision? Bridich's relationship with Arenado.
3) Nick Groke, The Athletic - Why did Arenado want to be traded? Why did the Rockies agree to trade him?
4) Pat Graham, Associated Press - Criticism of the trade
5) Mark Kizla, Denver Post - Do Monfort's other financial interests affect how the Rockies are run? Will he sell the team? Bridich's responsibility in building a winning team.
6) Michael Spencer, CBS 4 - Has Bridich talked to any other Rockies about the trade?
1) Michael Spencer, CBS 4 - What gives Monfort confidence the Rockies can be good?
2) Mark Feinsand, MLB.com - What does the trade say to potential free agents the Rockies might want to sign?
3) Kyle Glaser, Baseball America - The players they acquired from the Cardinals.
4) Sean Keeler, Denver Post - The idea the Rockies are a stepping stone organization.
5) Tracy Ringolsby, InsideTheSeams.com - Who plays third base?
6) Mark Carig, The Athletic - How is this anything other than an organizational failure? Bridich's decisions, leadership and ability to build a winning team.
7) Ed Henderson, KOA - Will the Rockies look to sign any free agents given they freed up some money? Thoughts on Austin Gomber.
8) Jacob Tobery, 9News - Headliner of the guys they got in return? Thoughts on the minor leaguers.
9) Drew Creasman, DNVR - Monfort's role in baseball decisions.
10) Woody Paige, The Gazette - Has Monfort thought about firing Bridich or himself?
11) Vic Lombardi, Altitude - Why send the Cardinals money?
Here is part one of the Dick Monfort and Jeff Bridich Zoom call, with part two below.
Nolan spoke with Denver media on Tuesday.
Nolan Arenado's introductory Zoom call as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021.
COLORADO ROCKIES ACQUIRE FIVE PLAYERS FROM ST. LOUIS CARDINALS IN EXCHANGE FOR THIRD BASEMAN NOLAN ARENADO AND CASH CONSIDERATIONS
DENVER– The Colorado Rockies announced today that they have acquired infielder Mateo Gil, left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber, right-handed pitcher Tony Locey, infielder Elehuris Montero and right-handed pitcher Jake Sommers from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for third baseman Nolan Arenado and cash considerations.
• Gil, 20, did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic … in 53 total games in 2019, including 51 at Rookie Level Johnson City, batted .262 (55-for-210) with eight doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 30 RBI … in 98 career games across two professional seasons, has batted .257 (98-for-381) with 14 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 50 RBI … was originally selected by St. Louis in the third round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Timber Creek High School in Keller, Texas.
• Gomber, 27, made 14 appearances (including four starts) for the Cardinals in the 60-game 2020 season and went 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA (29.0 IP, 6 ER), 15 walks and 27 strikeouts … in his four starts, went 1-0 and combined to allow one run on 11 hits (15.2 IP), with six walks and 17 strikeouts … made his Major League debut for St. Louis on June 2, 2018 vs. Pittsburgh and has combined to go 7-3 with a 3.72 ERA (104.0 IP, 43 ER), 47 walks and 94 strikeouts across 43 Major League games with 15 starts … as a starter, he is 6-2 with a 3.47 ERA (72.2 IP, 28 ER), 28 walks and 70 strikeouts … in his career as reliever, he is 1-1 with a 4.31 ERA (31.1 IP, 15 ER), 19 walks and 24 strikeouts … in parts of five Minor League seasons, has gone 43-22 with a 3.01 ERA (523.0 IP, 175 ER), 157 walks and 526 strikeouts, and was named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star in three consecutive seasons (2015-17) … was originally selected by St. Louis out of Florida Atlantic University in the fourth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
• Locey, 22, did not pitch in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic … in his first professional in 2019, went 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA (17.0 IP, 10 ER), 12 walks and 31 strikeouts in 12 total appearances between the GCL Cardinals and Low-A Peoria … was originally selected by St. Louis in the third round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Georgia.
• Montero, 22, did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic … in 63 total games between Double-A Springfield (59 games) and the GCL Cardinals (four games) in 2019, batted .188 (42-for-224) with eight doubles, seven home runs and 18 RBI … was named the Low-A Midwest League Most Valuable Player in 2018 after batting .322 (123-for-382) with 28 doubles, three triples, 15 home runs and 69 RBI … has batted .269 (362-for-1347) with 84 doubles, seven triples, 32 home runs and 192 RBI in 360 career games across five professional seasons … the Santo Domingo Central, Dominican Republic native was originally signed by St. Louis as a non-drafted international free agent on Aug. 29, 2014.
• Sommers, 22, did not pitch in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic … in his first professional season in 2019, went 2-3 with a 4.18 ERA (51.2 IP, 24 ER), 19 walks and 55 strikeouts across 10 starts and two relief appearances with Rookie Level Johnson City … was originally selected by St. Louis in the 10th round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
• Arenado, 29, is a five-time All-Star (2015-19), eight-time Gold Glove winner (2013-20), four-time Platinum Glove winner (2017-20) and four-time Silver Slugger winner (2015-18) … batted .253 (46-for-182) with 23 runs, nine doubles, eight home runs, 26 RBI, 15 walks and 20 strikeouts in 2020 … made his Major League debut for the Rockies on April 28, 2013 vs. Arizona and in parts of eight seasons with Colorado batted .293 (1,206-for-4,118) with 649 runs, 262 doubles, 27 triples, 235 home runs, 760 RBI, 16 stolen bases, 362 walks and 684 strikeouts … since 2015, he leads the Major Leagues with 647 RBI, 427 extra-base hits, 1,814 total bases, 153 go-ahead RBI and 85 game-winning RBI while ranking second in home runs (207) and fifth in hits (952) … his eight Gold Gloves are the most in franchise history, and he is the second player in Major League history to win eight or more consecutive Gold Gloves to begin his career (also: Ichiro Suzuki, 10 consecutive).
The Rockies currently have a full 40-man roster.