Pitchers and catchers reported to Colorado Rockies Spring Training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona on Thursday, February 18.
The Rockies finished with a 24-36 record in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Then they traded 5-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals on February 2.
The expectations for the Rockies are certainly low. But pitcher Kyle Freeland says that should serve to motivate the guys.
"I think it should be our sole motivating factor," Freeland said in a Zoom call with reporters. "We haven't even played a Spring Training game. It's day one for pitchers and catchers and people are already counting us out. That's a position I like to be in, being an underdog, being someone who the general public thinks is not going to perform at all. As a whole team, we're using that as a chip on our shoulder to push us through this season and shock the world and prove the doubters wrong."
Rockies manager Bud Black said as good a player as Arenado is, the time is now for the 2021 Rockies to start a new journey.
"You have to turn the page quickly. You can't dwell on certain things," Black said. "This is a new era of a new team. Teams change and this will be our team this year. This team will create an identity and from talking with the players, they're excited about that. Let's see how it plays out. Our guys are ready for it."
The Rockies will open Cactus League play against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, February 28.
Check out the Zoom calls from Thursday, February 28 with Black and Freeland, along with pitchers Austin Gomber and Scott Oberg.