The 40-46 Padres, still surprisingly in the thick of things in the tight-knit NL West at 4.5 games behind, will get a boost in the lineup tonight as Everth Cabrera returns from the disabled list, per the team’s official Twitter. In a related move, 23-year-old right-hander Burch Smith, sitting on an 11.37 ERA in 12.2 innings, was optioned to Triple-A Tuscon.
Cabrera, putting up All-Star-caliber numbers, was sidelined since June 17 with a strained left hamstring. Until the injury, he had posted a .305/.382/.418 line with 31 stolen bases in 38 attempts. FanGraphs still has him as the most valuable shortstop in baseball at 3.6 Wins Above Replacement, a hair above Jean Segura at 3.5. In Cabrera’s absence, the Padres relied on Pedro Ciriaco at shortstop, but the former member of the Pirates and Red Sox organizations posted a paltry .634 OPS.
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.