Joel Zumaya threw for a big group of teams earlier this month and reportedly topped out in the mid-90s with his fastball, leading to lots of optimism about the oft-injured reliever’s latest comeback.
However, an unnamed American League general manager told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that “our doctors don’t think he would pass the physical based on what they see.”
Zumaya hasn’t pitched since gruesomely fracturing his elbow in mid-2010, but physical exams can of course be waived and he may also decide to wait another month or two before signing anyway.
Whatever the case, if he’s throwing 95 miles per hour again and is willing to accept a minor-league contract some team will certainly take a flier on Zumaya, who despite all his arm problems is still just 27 years old and has never ceased being effective in between disabled list stints.
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.