Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Dick Monfort breaks his silence, addressing Nolan, the offseason and 2020

February 07, 2020 | Baseball

By Jordan Schachterle

The Surveyor

After nearly a complete offseason of silence, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort spoke out addressing many questions surrounding his baseball club. He gave a brief speech at the Friends of Baseball Breakfast of Champions, a fundraiser for youth baseball in Northern Colorado.

Monfort took his time at the podium to speak to the couple of hundred sitting in the room about his hopes for the upcoming season. He explained that the 2017 and 2018 playoff runs followed by a disappointing 2019 season was similar to that of the 2007 and 2008 Rockies seasons.

“I had an analytical staff go through and interpolate those numbers,” Montfort said about reviewing the historic seasons, “and so in 2020, we’ll win 94 games and lose 68.”

That’s a big statement coming from the club owner. A 94-win season would be a record for the Rockies, and with as crazy an offseason it’s been so far, it’s hard to imagine. Maybe he said it to just give Rockies fans hope, or maybe he said it because he truly believes it’s possible; either way, the statement will stick all through 2020.

Dick Monfort

In the midst of Nolan Arenado trade rumors, criticism of the front office, and arbitration contract conflicts, it was unclear where the heads of the organizations stood on the issues. On top of his short speech to please the masses, Monfort sat down for an interview, diving into more of the gritty matters.

“I think the Nolan-Jeff deal was really blown out of proportion. I really don’t see that it’s as big of an issue,” Monfort said right off the bat, “I’ve talked to Nolan by text and I think the Nolan-Jeff issue is down the pecking list.”

In his eyes, the interactions between General Manager Jeff Bridich and Arenado through the media were nothing to take too seriously, they come naturally with high talent players, and he believed the situation had mostly ironed itself out.

“Nolan’s a very competitive guy and he wants to win,” Monfort said, “Last year was hard on all of us and I think a lot of last year is on his mind.”

With that being said, Monfort explained that there could be other existing issues between the GM and all-star third baseman, originating from Arenado’s time in the farm system.

“Most of the fans have seen Nolan for the past seven years but Jeff was with him in Triple-A and Double-A: he was the farm director,” he said, “when you’re coming up through the ranks, there’s some tough love along the way and so there could be something built in there that I’m not even aware of and they’re not even really aware of; I don’t see the issues there.”

Fans have not only expressed concern with the player-GM conflict, but also about the lack of activity from the Rockies during the offseason. The ballclub signed no free agents, traded no players, and their only actions were deals to avoid arbitration for current players, but Monfort explained it’s all for good reason, in his eyes.

As Monfort explained, “When you sign a free agent you don’t sign him for a year, so if you go four or five years in a row of signed free agents … they’re on the team so you’ve also got kids coming up that you have to work in so there’s gonna be times like this.”

In the last five years, the Rockies have signed multiple free agents, most notably Ian Desmond, Daniel Murphy and a group of relief pitchers. This year the front office wants to utilize those who they have and those who are flourishing in the farm system. This strategy has already been criticized by many, and if the Rockies have another flop of a season, Monfort is going to take the heat for that decision.

The only move the Rockies have been reported to be considering is an Arenado trade. Most Rockies fans believe sending Nolan out of Colorado would be a terrible move. If you stand by Arenado, you can take a sigh of relief, for now, as Monfort halfway shut down the rumors.

Monfort said “I don’t think so” to three big questions: is there a chance for a trade with the Cubs involving Kris Bryant? Could Arenado be dealt before the start of spring training? And will the state of the team’s success determine if Arenado could be traded before the trade deadline?

Monfort was quick to say later on that he could make no grantees about the fate of the seven-time Gold Glover, but he said the mindset of the ballclub is to go with who they’ve got.

Monfort answered another major question Saturday morning – did Nolan Arenado ask to be traded? Upon hearing the burning question, Monfort paused, contemplating what his answer would be, and finally said, “Did Nolan ask to be traded? No.”

Take it how you want, but the silence before the answer and the shortness of it points to something bigger behind the simple “no.” There is no way to know what goes on behind the closed doors within the Rockies organization, but Monfort’s interview helped give some insight into those conversations.

Will the Rockies live up to Monfort’s promised 94 wins? Will No. 28 be at third base for all of 2020? Will sticking with the same team be successful for Colorado? The only way to find out is to watch the season unfold this spring and summer.

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