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Rockies owner says Arenado wanted out, team not rebuilding

Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Denver Post / Getty

Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort defended the team's decision to trade star third baseman Nolan Arenado during his first media appearance since the deal.

"I'm aware this is not a popular decision, but I promise, it was not made with haste," Monfort said Tuesday. "This brings closure to something we've been dealing with for over a year."

After signing Arenado to an eight-year, $260-million extension in 2019, Monfort said trading him came down to two factors. One was Arenado's desire to move on.

"We honored what Nolan wanted to do and we made what we thought was the best thing we could do at the time," Monfort explained. "Nolan asked us for a trade. His desire never wavered."

Another was Arenado's impending opt-out clause after the 2021 season.

"Our assumption was that (Arenado) would opt out," Monfort said.

The Cardinals had rekindled interest in a trade for the eight-time Gold Glove winner after discussions stalled last offseason, but they weren't the only ones talking with the Rockies about potentially acquiring Arenado.

"There were many teams that we talked to, and there were many deals that made no sense," Monfort said. "(General manager) Jeff (Bridich) did an incredible job of pushing the talent (in the deal with St. Louis).

"There were 10 times (in) the last two weeks I didn't think the St. Louis deal made sense."

Monfort and Bridich - who also spoke to the media Tuesday - agreed that despite trading Arenado, they don't believe the team is rebuilding. However, they said they understand the fan base being upset.

"I've mentioned I'm a fan, so I understand how they feel. To be quite honest, I would probably feel the same way," Monfort said.

Bridich said if anyone is to blame for the team's current situation it's him, though Monfort said he isn't parting ways with the longtime executive.

"If you're looking to pass blame, you can blame me," Bridich said. "I'm the GM. That's part of the role, part of the job."

"I haven't thought about firing Jeff, no," Monfort said. "I have thought about firing myself."

With Arenado gone, the attention now turns to Trevor Story. The star shortstop is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Bridich expects the Rockies will open the campaign with Story, but the GM wouldn't address the infielder's long-term future.

"It’s very difficult to predict what the coming months will look like," Bridich said.

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