Orioles starter Jason Hammel looked sharp and healthy in his return from right knee surgery last week, holding the Yankees to one run over five innings in a 10-6 Baltimore victory. But the right-hander may suddenly be back to square one.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Hammel was diagnosed with an aggravation of his right knee after landing awkwardly while delivering a pitch in the fourth inning tonight against the Rays.
The 30-year-old was able to walk off the field under his own power when he made his early exit, but his knee clearly buckled on the pitch and the safe assumption is that he’ll need significant time off.
Hammel allowed one run in 3 2/3 innings before departing and now has a 3.43 ERA in 118 total innings this season. The Orioles entered play Tuesday with a one-game lead over the Rays in the AL Wild Card hunt.
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.