As recently as yesterday afternoon Tim Kurkjian of ESPN reported that the Yankees were “all over” Ubaldo Jimenez, but once the Rockies ace was traded to the Indians much different details emerged about New York’s interest level.
According to Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger the Yankees’ pursuit of Jimenez essentially ended several days ago when the Rockies refused to let him take a pre-trade physical exam and scared off general manager Brian Cashman with their prospect demands.
Given that the Rockies ended up with an impressive four-player package led by Drew Pomeranz and Alex White it’s easy to see why the Yankees may have balked at their asking price, which Carig reports as Ivan Nova plus two of Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, or Jesus Montero.
However, with the Yankees believing Jimenez’s drop in velocity could be a major red flag they insisted on studying his health before getting too deep in talks and the Rockies’ resistance to that basically made the asking price a moot point. And that’s a big part of how the most coveted starting pitcher on the trade market ended up in Cleveland.
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.