Allen Craig began the season on the disabled list following November knee surgery and returned to an uncertain role when he came off the shelf on May 1, but other injuries have quickly turned him into an everyday player for the Cardinals and he’s absolutely killing the ball.
Craig went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs yesterday, giving him an extra-base hit in eight of his 12 games. He’s now batting .404 with five homers and five doubles in 47 at-bats, posting a .455 on-base percentage and .830 slugging percentage that adds up to a 1.284 OPS.
To put that in some context, Josh Hamilton has a .402 batting average and 1.305 OPS overall this season. I suppose Craig hitting like Hamilton for 12 games is obviously less noteworthy than Hamilton hitting like Craig all season, but either way the Cardinals’ banged-up lineup is being carried by a guy who missed the first two dozen games and was on the DL two weeks ago.
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.