Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Earlier this week, after I published my nine millionth story of the offseason about the Yankees and Manny Machado, a major league source reached out with a suggestion: Don't sleep on the Yanks and Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Certainly, there's been smoke there already.
Back in December, WFAN's Sweeny Murti wrote about how Arenado would fit the Yankees, and on Friday morning, MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal made passing reference to the possibility on the "Hot Stove" morning show.
Rosenthal has also written about how teams passing on Machado and Bryce Harper might be saving up for Arenado and Washington's Anthony Rendon next offseason.
Meanwhile, people briefed on the Yankees thinking say that GM Brian Cashman -- who did not respond to a request for comment -- has internally discussed the possibility of trying to trade for Arenado either now or during the season. One source said that the teams have likely talked already, but neither Cashman nor Rockies GM Jeff Bridich have confirmed this.
Frankly, it would be surprising if the teams haven't talked by now. Arenado's future in Colorado is highly uncertain.
A six-time Gold Glove winner and four-time All Star, the 27-year-old is the face of that franchise, post-Troy Tulowitzki. But the player and team are headed to an arbitration hearing; Arenado is asking for $30 million in his final year before free agency, and the Rockies are offering $24 million.
The Rockies have been open about their desire to sign Arenado long-term, but it's hardly ideal for a team trying to re-sign its franchise player to proceed with a potentially contentious arbitration hearing. This is not a great sign for their chances to retain him.
"It's going to be difficult for Colorado to keep him," said one person familiar with the Rockies situation.
If the Rockies ultimately conclude this, they will be better off trading him soon.
As evidenced by the Orioles' so-so return for Machado last July, even great players lose value when they become short-term rentals.
The obvious fit as the centerpiece in a deal with the Yankees is Miguel Andujar, who could replace Arenado at third.
If the Yankees were to move Andujar, they would likely want to talk extension with Arenado.
Superstar players don't often give up the chance to be free agents, but the Yankees have the money to get Arenado's attention. If you're going to offer, say, seven or eight years at $35 million per year in 12 months, why not do it now?
If he hits free agency, Arenado will likely garner interest from more teams than Machado has. He's universally regarded as a gamer, without the baggage created, fairly or not, from Machado's "Johnny Hustle" comments in October.
He's a superstar without complications.
But could he save himself the trouble of a long free agency, and simply become a very wealthy Yankee beforehand?
More than one league source has said to keep an eye on this.