Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada entered Saturday’s game against the Phillies with a .579 OPS and two career home runs in 1,340 at-bats. As Phillies center fielder Ben Revere homered on Tuesday, Tejada had been the newest owner of baseball’s longest active homerless drought. His last deep drive came on August 1, 2012 against Giants starter Matt Cain, 552 at-bats ago.
In the fourth inning, Tejada took a Kyle Kendrick breaking ball out to left field for a solo home run, increasing the Mets’ lead to 3-0, ending the drought. Coincidentally, the two most recent homerless droughts have been ended at Citizens Bank Park.
Per ESPN’s Adam Rubin, citing the Elias Sports Bureau, the latest king of the homer drought is Cubs catcher John Baker, who hasn’t homered in 426 at-bats dating back to September 4, 2009. Brewers starter Kyle Lohse has the overall longest drought at 434 at-bats, but he doesn’t really count since he’s a pitcher.
Tejada finished Saturday’s game 3-for-4 with an RBI single and a walk along with the homer, pushing his slash line up to .227/.349/.289 in 154 plate appearances on the season.
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.