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Video: Jose Bautista slides late into Rougned Odor, sparking benches to empty

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A benches-clearing fracas ensued in Arlington, Texas in the eighth inning of Sunday’s series finale between the Blue Jays and Rangers. The two clubs aren’t the best of friends after Jose Bautista‘s infamous bat flip, but the peace had been kept in the six previous meetings between the two teams this season.

That changed on Sunday. Rangers pitcher Matt Bush hit Bautista with a fastball and that earned both teams a warning. Later in the inning, against Jake Diekman, Justin Smoak hit an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Bautista, who has already been on the wrong end of a slide into second base, slid late into Rougned Odor. Odor was not happy about it, so he took a few swings at Bautista. One of the punches hit Bautista square in the jaw, sending the outfielder’s sunglasses flying off of his face. Both benches emptied and chaos ensued.

Here’s the video:

The next inning, Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez drilled Prince Fielder with a first-pitch fastball and immediately walked towards the dugout, knowing he would be ejected. The benches emptied again but peace was more quickly restored.

As mentioned in the first post on the subject, Odor, Bautista, Bush, and Jesse Chavez are likely looking at fines and possible suspensions.

Marcus Stroman tweeted during the game that he has “zero respect” for Odor and “never will.”

Report: Yankees could be in on 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.