The Twins were given quite the scare this afternoon when Nick Blackburn exited his start against the Rangers due to injury. Fortunately it doesn’t appear to be serious.
According to Tyler Mason of FOX Sports Midwest, Blackburn was diagnosed with right posterior shoulder stiffness and is listed as day-to-day. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings this afternoon before the injury. He gave up five runs over six innings in a loss to the Angels in his season debut last week.
Scott Baker is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair a flexor pronator tendon in his elbow, so the Twins can ill afford another injury in their rotation. It’s too soon to tell whether Blackburn will miss his next scheduled start, but Anthony Swarzak could potentially stick around with Jason Marquis on track to join the team for his first start next week.
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.