Rockies GM Jeff Bridich largely declined an opportunity to discuss the state of the team’s contract talks with star third baseman Nolan Arenado, as MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes. Bridich says the club is content to “keep things under wraps, under our hat for now” as it continues to try to work out a 2019 salary — and, perhaps, a long-term deal — with the club’s top player. The general manager did say that the Rox will not “set any deadlines or ultimatums,” though that comment may relate more to the still-unresolved arbitration case than extension talks. Arenado and the team still need to bridge a $6MM gap to stave off a hearing, as he filed at $30MM against the team’s $24MM submission. It’s still anyone’s guess whether there’ll be any real traction in discussions on a lengthier accord, but it’ll unquestionably cost a pretty penny to get the 27-year-old to forego a chance at testing the open market next winter.
Here’s more out of Denver and the NL West…
- Also from Harding’s piece, Bridich stated that the Rockies “haven’t been overly aggressive” in the outfield market. Fans hoping for a reunion with Matt Holliday will be disheartened to see that the GM characterized the franchise icon as a tougher fit on the current roster than he was when he was signed late in the 2018 season and enjoyed a brief comeback tour. Presently, Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl look like locks for regular outfield work. Ian Desmond, Raimel Tapia and Noel Cuevas will also slot in around the outfield, though Cuevas has options remaining, so it seems conceivable that the Rox could make a move if a palatable bargain presents itself.
- There are “indications” that the Diamondbacks plan to utilize newly signed Wilmer Flores as their second baseman in 2019, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Doing so would allow them to shift Ketel Marte to the outfield as their new primary center fielder. It’d be an unfamiliar position for Marte, but the move is something that’s been discussed for some time now. (The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan noted as much all the way back in October). As Piecoro notes, the D-backs’ defensive alignment figures to look quite a bit different; Jake Lamb is slated to move across the diamond to first base following the trade of Paul Goldschmidt, with Eduardo Escobar slotting in as the primary third baseman. Nick Ahmed (shortstop), Flores (second base) and Marte (center field) could line up on the middle of the diamond, with David Peralta and Steven Souza Jr. flanking Marte in center.
- The Giants may use the “opener” strategy at times in 2019 but won’t be among the league’s most aggressive teams with it, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland and Jeff Samardzija will all be treated as traditional starters, though Schulman notes that president of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi has recently expressed a desire to manage the workloads of younger arms like Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez “for their future and for ours.” Schulman’s column explores multiple avenues to achieving that goal and features multiple quotes from Zaidi and skipper Bruce Bochy on the pitching staff that Giants fans will surely want to check out in full. Schulman also reiterates that it’s still possible the Giants could explore trades of either Will Smith or Tony Watson as they seek additional rotation and outfield options. Both lefty relievers can become free agents next offseason.