Major League Baseball just announced its umps and, to my surprise, fear and — on some strange level amusement — Cowboy Joe West and his notorious crew get to work the Milwaukee-Arizona series.
The whole crew: West, Ron Kulpa, Alfonso Marquez, Bruce Dreckman, and additions Jeff Kellogg and James Hoye for outfield duty. It’s a way better crew now that Angel Hernandez is off it but, you know, West is still there. And Hernandez still gets to ump in the Cardinals-Phillies series. Oh heck, let’s just look at the rest of them:
- Detroit vs. New York: Gerry Davis, Tony Randazzo, Eric Cooper, Dan Iassogna, Ted Barrett and Bill Welke;
- St. Louis vs. Philadelphia: Jerry Layne, Chris Guccione, Jerry Meals, Angel Hernandez — woot! — Gary Cederstrom and Chad Fairchild. And remember, Meals is the guy who handed the Braves that win in the 19-inning game in Pittsburgh, so that’s a strong crew there, partner.
- Tampa Bay vs. Texas: Dale Scott, Mark Carlson, Kerwin Danley, Greg Gibson, Brian Gorman and Marvin Hudson.
Just remember: being an umpire means never having to say you’re sorry. Unless you’re Jim Joyce, who did say he was sorry. And everyone likes him too. And he doesn’t get to ump in the Division Series, so there’s a lesson in that for you.
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.