Ron Washington picks Fernando Rodney as All-Star closer

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Fernando Rodney simply making the All-Star team at age 35 and after five consecutive seasons with an ERA higher than 4.00 is amazing enough, but apparently he’ll also be asked to close out the game if the American League has a ninth-inning lead.

Rodney told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that AL manager Ron Washington has already said he’s in line for the save opportunity, getting the nod over fellow closers Joe Nathan, Ryan Cook, Jim Johnson, and Chris Perez. That’s somewhat surprising considering Nathan is Washington’s closer for the Rangers and is having an incredible season himself with a 1.73 ERA, 18 saves, and a 45/4 K/BB ratio in 36 innings.

Of course, Rodney has a 0.93 ERA, 25 saves, and a 38/5 K/BB ratio in 39 innings, so it’s tough to go wrong either way. And maybe Washington just really wants to see Rodney do his post-save “shooting an arrow” celebration on a national stage.

Mariano Rivera closed out the American League’s last All-Star victory in 2009.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado
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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.