From Marc Topkin at the St. Pete Times:
Rocco Baldelli would have reason to spend hours, if not days, lamenting how his once promising baseball career was cut short by injury and a mysterious illness.
He won’t do that, because that’s not his nature. Plus, he’s too busy embracing the next phase of his life.
Baldelli, 29, is expected to officially announce his retirement as a player today, as well as his new assignment as a special adviser in the Rays’ front office, working in scouting and player development.
Baldelli’s career was once quite promising. He came up as a 21-year-old in 2003 and showed himself to be a pretty well-rounded player. A little pop, a little speed and a glove that looked like it could stick in center field. But then he faltered and later he was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that never allowed him to get right. After a trip to Boston in 2009 and then a return to the Rays last year, he spent most of last season in a front office job before playing ten games at the end of the season. His last action came when he was inexplicably given the start against Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the ALDS back in October. He went 0 for 3 and was deactivated after the game.
It’s sad to see his playing days end, but it sounds as if he’s prepared for that and is ready to move on with his life in baseball, working in the Rays player development department.
Good luck, Rocco.
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.