The Rangers’ experiment with former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb has already hit a snag.
According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers are now limiting Webb to purely flat-ground work in camp because they’re not confident in the strength of his throwing shoulder, which has been giving him problems now for two straight years. He has been banned from the mound indefinitely.
Webb, 32 in May, hasn’t pitched in a big league game since the first week of the 2009 season. He had a 3.24 ERA and averaged 14 wins per year from 2003-2008 and the Rangers forked over a one-year, $3 million contract to him this winter that carries another $5 million in performance-based incentives. But it sounds like the right-hander has a long way to go before he can begin trying to earn that money.
For now, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux is saying that Webb is only a week behind. We’ll see if that holds.
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.