Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this evening that “it’s conceivable” Rich Hill could be activated from the disabled list this weekend while the club is in Chicago. See, who needs Carl Crawford?
Hill reinvented himself as a sidearmer last year and posted a 12/3 K/BB ratio over eight scoreless innings with the Red Sox before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery in June. The 32-year-old left-hander has been very solid during his minor league rehab assignment, posting a 2.00 ERA and an 18/2 K/BB ratio over nine innings between Class A Greenville, High-A Salem and Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox have seen him top out at 93 mph with his fastball.
More help for Boston’s beleaguered bullpen could soon follow, as Mark Melancon has struck out six over 3 1/3 scoreless innings since his demotion last week. The Red Sox have also converted prospect right-hander Alex Wilson from a starter to a reliever this week to prepare him for the major leagues.
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.