Three weeks ago Corey Hart was expected to miss two weeks with a strained oblique muscle, but he’s yet to rejoin the lineup and yesterday told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he’s worried about being ready for Opening Day:
It’s still not coming as fast as I want it to. It won’t go away. I still can’t go full-speed on anything. Hitting off the tee is fine, but I can’t amp it up the way I know I can. I can throw, but as soon as I have to do a quick move or let it go, it kills. I can’t go out there and be a huge liability. I’m basically just waiting for my body to do what it’s supposed to do.
McCalvy writes that Hart “would need to make significant progress” in the next few days to have a realistic chance to be ready for March 31, and based on Hart’s comments above that seems unlikely. Even if he makes a miraculous recovery in the next two weeks he’d be entering the season with very few spring training at-bats. Of course, he hit just .172 last spring and was benched on Opening Day, yet ended up making the All-Star team and setting career-highs in homers and RBIs.
Hart won’t be on the bench much this season after signing a three-year, $26.5 million extension, but the Brewers may have to turn to Chris Dickerson or Mat Gamel in right field for a while.
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.