Clayton Kershaw is not the only one who has agreed with the Dodgers to put off a deadline. Now David Freese has done the same. As is the case with Kershaw, he and the Dodgers have agreed to extend the deadline by which time the club must exercise its option on him until Friday at 4 PM ET.
The numbers for Freese are nowhere near as large, of course. The club option, if exercised, would pay him a $6 million salary in 2019. If not exercised he’d get a $500,000 buyout and would become a free agent. That Freese was amenable to the extra time is, one would suspect, partially a function of him not being able to sign with another team until Saturday anyway, so it’s not like he is losing time on the market. It’s likely more largely a function of each side wanting to hammer out some sort of deal that would keep him in Los Angeles. That would likely involve a reduced annual salary but, perhaps, a longer guaranteed term.
Freese had a pretty spiffy 2018 season, split between the Pirates and the Dodgers, hitting .296/.359/.471 with 11 homers in 312 plate appearances. In the postseason we went 8-for-20 with a walk, two homers and six runs batted in 14 games as the right side of a first base platoon, more or less. His transformation from an everyday player to a platoon player makes a lot of sense for him given his skills and, given how aggressively Dave Roberts and the Dodgers platoon, he’s a pretty good fit. It would thus make sense for the sides to keep talking in an effort to work something out.
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.