Astros prospect Mark Appel had seemingly gotten on track after a rough, injury plagued start to his second pro season, putting together a decent stretch of games at Single-A, but the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft got knocked around in a big way last night.
Appel failed to make it out of the fifth inning while allowing seven runs on 13 hits and his season totals at high Single-A now include a 9.57 ERA in 10 starts with a .376 opponents’ batting average and 1.030 OPS against.
Appel has just 75 career innings under his belt since being drafted out of Stanford, but he turns 23 years old next week and almost everyone figured he’d be at least knocking on the door to the majors by now. Instead he’s struggling–and that’s probably putting it very kindly–at high Single-A.
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.