The Orioles optioned Steve Lombardozzi to make room for Manny Machado

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A few short months ago Steve Lombardozzi was considered important enough to net a top-flight starting pitcher in a trade. Then, a little after that, he was only good enough to net a veteran infielder who wasn’t going to make a big league roster (and who was subsequently released). Now he’s a waste of 25-man roster space: he was just optioned to Triple-A to make room for Manny Machado.

Jokes aside, it is somewhat surprising that it was Lombardozzi who got the boot. He hasn’t been tearing up the pea patch, but he has been considerably better than Ryan Flaherty in around the same number of plate appearances. And while Jonathan Schoop has been a bit better than Lombardozzi, it was Lombo who was getting more time at second base than Schoop, who had mostly been covering third.

Not a big difference one way or the other, of course. But it’s kinda odd to think how far Lombardozzi has fallen in terms of perception in the past year.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado
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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.