As further evidence that the Phillies have reached “Yankees of the National League” status and will now be linked to every big-name player being shopped, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that “they have been considered frontrunner to land a San Diego reliever.”
Heath Bell is the Padres’ closer and biggest name in the bullpen, but setup man Mike Adams might actually be San Diego’s best reliever. And while Bell is an impending free agent making a bunch of money Adams is relatively cheap and under team control for 2012. In other words, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would be smart to make a play for Adams before he pays a premium for Bell.
Olney notes that Chad Qualls is another Padres reliever who could be on the Phillies’ radar, although he’s more of a solid middle man than late-inning weapon like Adams or Bell. Ryan Madson returned from the disabled list today, allowing the Phillies to push fill-in closer Antonio Bastardo back into a setup role, but apparently with Brad Lidge still on the DL and Jose Contreras’ status uncertain Amaro is pushing for more bullpen help.
Earlier this week Padres GM Jed Hoyer replied “at this point right now I’m not certain” when asked whether Bell will be traded, but the All-Star closer still being in San Diego after July 31 is looking more and more unlikely.
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.