Next week, MLB owners are expected to vote and unanimously approve a five-year extension for commissioner Rob Manfred, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports.
Manfred, 60, was elected to succeed Bud Selig in August 2014 and officially took over in January 2015. Major League Baseball has achieved record revenues during his tenure. He has also made noteworthy changes to pace of play rules. A new collective bargaining agreement was also ratified which has thus far worked out well for ownership. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Manfred will be unanimously approved to spend at least another five years at the helm.
Nightengale notes that additional rules are expected to be discussed between Manfred and the owners including more pace of play improvements such as a pitch clock, as well as potentially limiting shifts and pitching changes. The league could also make a rule to discourage the use of “openers,” a strategy popularized by the Rays this past season in which a traditional reliever starts a game but quickly yields to a starting pitcher once he has gotten through a certain portion of the opposing lineup.
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.