UPDATE: It’s official — the Twins have named Rocco Baldelli their new manager. A press conference is scheduled for 4PM this afternoon. Baldelli, 37, will be the youngest manager in baseball.
7:51 AM: Jon Heyman reports that the Twins will name Rocco Baldelli their new manager. This follows a report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune late last night which suggested that the Twins were leaning in that direction.
Baldelli, 37, has emerged as a hot managerial prospect in recent weeks. In addition to the Twins, he also interviewed for the Blue Jays and Rangers vacancies. At present Baldelli is the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Field Coordinator and spent the previous three seasons as their first base coach. He, of course, is known for his eight-year big league career, mostly with the Rays.
Baldelli would replace Paul Molitor, last year’s Manager of the Year, who was dismissed after the Twins finished with a 78–84 record, coming in 13 games behind the Cleveland Indians.
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.