Minnesota has signed left-hander Rafael Perez to a minor-league contract, according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Perez was non-tendered by the Indians in November following a season in which he was limited to eight appearances because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in September.
However, prior to the shoulder problems Perez was one of the most effective southpaw setup men in baseball with a 3.64 career ERA and a sub-3.60 ERA in four of his five full seasons with the Indians.
At the time of the surgery he was expected to be recovered sometime around spring training, so if healthy the 31-year-old Perez will compete with Tyler Robertson to be the third left-hander in the bullpen behind closer Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing.
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.