UPDATE: Forget that arbitration nonsense below, the Phillies just signed Blanton to a three-year, $24 million extension. And no, Cliff Lee would not have signed for that, so I suppose the Phillies are better off today than they were yesterday.
11:30 A.M.: Lost (by me anyway) in all of the arbitration stuff these past few days was the fact that Joe Blanton has asked for $10.25 million and the Phillies have countered with $7.5 million.
Deep Thought #1: If the Phillies are willing to pay Joe Blanton $7.5 million — and risk paying him $10.25 million — why weren’t they willing to pay Cliff Lee $9 million and deal Blanton for a reliever or something? Yeah, I know Lee walks next year, but if there is any team that should be in win-now mode it’s the the Phillies, and for the price of $1.5 million, they could have drastically-increased their chances of winning it all.
Deep Thought #2: Tim Lincecum was probably insulted by the Giants’ $8 million offer from the get-go, but I wonder how he reacted when he learned that he, a two-time Cy Young award winner, was offered a mere half million than Joe “basically average” Blanton?
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.