For the second year in a row, the Cardinals will turn to Adam Wainwright in a decisive NLDS Game 5. Last year, they escaped with a win, but it was with no help from their ace.
Wainwright was tagged for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS last year, and with Cy Young contender Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the Nats, things seemed bleak. The Cards offense, though, managed to score three times off Gonzalez in the fourth and fifth innings and then add six runs off the Nationals bullpen — including four in the ninth coming against Drew Storen — in a 9-7 win.
That’s the only bad outing Wainwright has had in five starts and nine relief appearances in the postseason. Including his Game 1 win against the Pirates, he’s allowed a total of four runs in his other 37 1/3 innings of work. The Cardinals will be counting on similar success if they’re going to make it back to the NLCS this year.
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.