Matt Davidson
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Report: Rays could sign Matt Davidson as a two-way player

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The Rays appear interested in pursuing free agent infielder Matt Davidson, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Saturday. Rosenthal adds that the club envisions Davidson as a “potential two-way addition,” though it’s not yet clear how often they’d rely on his pitching ability as they move through the 2019 season.

Davidson, 27, stepped into a variety of roles with the White Sox in 2018. He logged 64 games at DH, 45 at first base, and 14 at third, and batted .228/.319/.419 with 20 home runs, a .738 OPS, and a career-high 0.8 fWAR across 496 plate appearances. While his last four seasons in the majors have made him a proven asset at the infield corners, however, there’s been little indication that he’s capable of transitioning to a semi-permanent role in the bullpen.

A brief summary of Davidson’s pitching career to date: The righty had not pitched since high school when he made his pro ball pitching debut last June. He completed three relief appearances over the course of the 2018 season, during which he issued one hit, one walk, and two strikeouts over three innings. Although he has yet to rack up any additional time on the mound in the majors or minors, the infielder-turned-reliever impressed with a fastball that topped out at 92 m.p.h. and a couple of decent breaking balls to boot.

For as much credit as the Rays are getting for their “ever-creative” roster configurations, it wouldn’t be the first time Davidson considered making the switch.

“To be honest, I would love to maybe explore that idea,” he told reporters after delivering a scoreless ninth inning during his second outing in late July. “Pitching was a dream. As a young kid, everybody wants to hit that walk-off homer, right? I was the guy striking that guy out. […] So, it’s something I would be interested in. I don’t know if the game would necessarily allow that, or something like that. It’s something that is really close to my heart.”

Whether he’s still willing to take on a two-way role remains to be seen, though Rosenthal explains that the Rays are well-positioned to facilitate such a change after helping no. 2 prospect Brendan McKay flourish as a first baseman/left-hander in 2017 and 2018.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

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.