Excuse me while I file this under most predictable trade rumor of all-time (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today):
The Yankees are keeping a close eye on Twins starter Francisco Liriano, while Twins are keeping tabs on Yanks prospects.
The trade winds began to blow earlier this month, when Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote that the Twins don’t plan to sign Liriano to a long-term deal and that they were open to exploring a trade. Speculation about the Yankees began almost immediately following Christensen’s report, so to hear that they have legitimate interest in the 27-year-old left-hander shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
While I can’t quite wrap my head around why the Twins would want to trade Liriano, who remains under team control through 2012, I wouldn’t blame them for looking for the best possible deal. Still, it would sting to see Liriano dealt to a team that has swept the Twins in consecutive postseasons.
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.