Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez gave up four runs — two earned — and walked five in 3 2/3 innings Thursday in a loss to the Mets. And this is what passes for one of his better spring outings.
The loss left Rodriguez 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA in three starts this spring. Since 2006, the left-hander is 4-17 with a 7.44 ERA during Grapefruit League action. He’s allowed 96 runs — 86 earned — in 104 innings. During that same timeframe, he’s 63-65 with a 3.89 ERA in the regular season.
What makes it especially odd is that Rodriguez turns it on the moment the regular season starts. April is actually his best month, as he has a 3.17 ERA in 28 career starts. His next best ERA in any month is a 3.81 mark in July.
So, next time Wandy says he’s just working on a pitch after one of his poor spring outings, one should probably take him at his word. It’s not at all unusual for pitchers to post lousy spring ERAs and then get it going once the opening bell rings, but no one does it quite as consistently as Rodriguez.
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.