The Rockies are ready to begin reaping the rewards of the recent Ubaldo Jimenez trade.
Jim Tracy announced earlier today that Alex White will be activated from the disabled list and start Tuesday against the Astros. He’ll take the place of struggling right-hander Jason Hammel, who will move to the bullpen for now.
White was acquired from the Indians last month along with 2010 first-round pick Drew Pomeranz, right-hander Joe Gardner and first baseman-outfielder Matt McBride. The 22-year-old right-hander posted a 3.60 ERA and 13/9 K/BB ratio over his first three major league starts before going on the disabled list in May with a strained ligament in his right index finger. The 2009 first-round pick struck out four over 7 2/3 shutout innings Thursday in his most recent minor league rehab start with Double-A Tulsa.
Hammel was just blasted for six runs over three innings in a loss to the Dodgers last night. He has an ugly 8.41 ERA and 21/22 K/BB ratio since the All-Star break and a 5.24 ERA for the season. While he is basically throwing at the same velocity this season as he was in 2010, his strikeout percentage has dipped from 18.3 percent to 11.9 percent while his walk percentage has increased from 6.1 percent to 9.7 percent. The 28-year-old right-hander avoided arbitration this winter by signing a two-year, $7.75 million contract. He is owed $4.75 million in 2012.
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.