Tony La Russa and the Cardinals did whatever they could to keep Ryan Franklin around despite the former closer’s struggles this season, using him in the lowest of low-leverage situations and often avoiding bringing him into home games so the St. Louis crowd couldn’t shower him with boos.
Last night’s ugly outing was apparently the final straw, however, as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have released Franklin.
During his first four Cardinals seasons Franklin saved 83 games with a 3.04 ERA while allowing just 262 hits in 285 innings. This season he was 1-for-5 converting saves with an 8.46 ERA and .367 opponents’ batting average, serving up a remarkable nine home runs in just 27 innings.
Franklin allowed 11 runs in his final six appearances and at age 38 will almost surely have to settle for a minor-league deal if he wants to continue pitching.
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.