The Cubs are closing in on a deal with free agent right-hander Kendall Graveman, per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. The deal is still pending official confirmation, and exact terms of the contract have yet to be publicly disclosed.
Things weren’t looking good for the 28-year-old righty when he was non-tendered by the Athletics in November. Graveman pitched to his worst career numbers during the first half of the season, turning in a 1-5 record in seven starts with a 7.60 ERA, 3.4 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9 and -0.4 fWAR through 34 1/3 innings. In July, a lingering forearm strain led to Tommy John surgery, which effectively decommissioned the starter until the start of the 2020 season.
The hope, of course, is that Graveman will return to the 4.00-ERA, 1.0+ fWAR levels of seasons past, though it doesn’t look like the Cubs are holding their breath on that front. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times points out that the righty isn’t expected to see much, if any playing time during the club’s 2019 campaign and will likely stand in as pitching depth once he makes his eventual return to the mound.
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.