Reporters haven’t been able to do much better than “Bigfoot off in the distance” pictures of Derek Jeter working out down in Tampa, but the Yankees’ David Phelps has an early review of the Captain on the Comeback Trail:
“Derek looks amazing. That’s awesome . . . You can tell he’s determined to go out there and do well,” Phelps said. “If you had to place a bet on it, you know he’s going to go out there and have a good year. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play again. He’s having a lot of fun right now.”
No Yankees player is going to say “man, Jeter looks like he’s toast. Dude has nothing. He should probably hang it up.” But nor would they flat out lie, I suspect. If Jeter looked creaky and terrible, you’d probably here far more vague things about how “he’s a competitor” and how no one should ever count out Jeter and stuff.
So while, yes, Phelps is not exactly the most objective source on the planet, hearing raves like this should not be entirely discounted either. It’s not likely that a nearly 40-year-old shortstop is going to look like he’s 30 again, but — for as cliche as this sounds — if anyone can buck the odds, isn’t it going to be Jeter?
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.