Last July, right before the trade deadline, the Colorado Rockies shipped Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays for Jose Reyes, among others. At the time, it seemed like the Rockies were in for a long rebuild, but that hasn’t been the case this season. With more than 25 percent of the season in the books, the Rockies are 21-21 and trail the Giants by just three-and-a-half games in the NL West.
Nolan Arenado has been a big reason why. The 25-year-old third baseman is hitting .307 with 14 homers, 34 RBIs and a .383 OBP.
Arenado has adjusted well to being the team’s new leader – perhaps even better than he envisioned.
“Well, it was different,” Arenado said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show, referring to the Rockies’ clubhouse post-Tulo. “It was a little different. It was a little frustrating for sure at times not having him there, but you move on. You learn from it. I think it’s made me a better ballplayer, learning how to handle some of the situations and being a little bit more mature. But it is what it is. You move on. Some people come and go. That’s part of the business we have. That’s how a lot of businesses are. It is what it is, you deal with it, you got to move on and the next guy needs to step up.”
Arenado has. So has 23-year-old shortstop Trevor Story, who is hitting .285 with 12 homers.
What does this mean for the aforementioned Reyes? It means the soon-to-be 33-year-old is going to have to fight to earn back his position when he returns from suspension. Reyes, who violated the league’s domestic-violence policy, is eligible to return June 1.
“Obviously it’s going to be a little different having him back, but Jose’s a good dude,” Arenado said. “Hopefully he can come and help us win. Obviously we have our shortstop right now and that’s Story and he’s done a great job with it. He’s taken advantage of the opportunity he has. We love having him there, but if Jose come back, we expect him to help the team win in any role that he plays. Jose Reyes is a guy that is part of this organization. We got to accept him, and we are. We expect him to be ready when he comes back and ready to help us win.”