Nolan Arenado’s extension talks with the Rockies could create a big impact around baseball, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand writes in an exploration of both the short-term and long-term effects of an Arenado deal. Most obviously, an extension would remove arguably the biggest name from the 2019-20 free agent class, which would be a boon to other stars who will be hitting the open market — in particular, Anthony Rendon would see his biggest competition in the third base market disappear. (Of course, Rendon could also ink his own long-term deal to stay with the Nationals.) More immediately, an Arenado extension could also set a new benchmark for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, should Arenado and the Rockies come to an agreement before Harper or Machado land contracts this winter.
Some stray items from around baseball as we head into the new week…
- Ten of the top names available in the 2019-20 international signing market are profiled by Baseball America’s Ben Badler, all of whom have teams already unofficially attached to their services even though the market doesn’t properly open until July 2. Dominican outfielder Jasson Dominguez and Dominican shortstop Robert Puason are projected for the highest bonuses, each expected to land something around $5MM, with Dominguez linked to the Yankees and Puason connected to the Athletics.
- While the Indians are still looking for outfield help, the team isn’t currently “aggressively pursuing” Adam Jones or Carlos Gonzalez, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports. Both veterans were only moderately productive in 2018, both with below-average offensive numbers (as per wRC+) and Jones with some of the worst defensive metrics (minus-18 Defensive Runs Saved, -14.8 UZR/150) of any center fielder in baseball. That said, both players could still represent an upgrade for Cleveland’s shaky outfield, though it appears the Tribe is checking other options for now.
- Trevor Bauer’s arbitration hearing took place on Friday, Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes reports, so details should soon emerge about the outcome. There was a $2MM gap between Bauer and the Indians in exchanged figures, as Bauer’s camp is looking for a $13MM salary in 2019 and the team is aiming for an $11MM salary. This will be the second arb hearing in as many years between the two sides, as Bauer defeated the Tribe in the hearing last winter to land his desired $6.525MM salary for the 2018 season. Like Kluber, Bauer has also been a major figure in trade rumors this offseason. He has one less year of team control than Kluber and a less-extensive track record, though Bauer is also almost five years younger than his rotation mate.
- The Royals have interest in veteran righty Drew Storen, The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports (Twitter link). Storen didn’t pitch last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2017. The 31-year-old was a key figure in the Nationals’ bullpen from 2010-15, though he suffered through a disastrous half-season stint with the Blue Jays in 2016 before righting the ship after a July trade to the Mariners. Prior to his injury, Storen had a 4.45 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 2.09 K/BB rate over 54 2/3 innings out of the Reds’ bullpen in 2017. Storen won’t carry a heavy price tag as he makes his return from TJ surgery, making him a target for payroll-conscious Kansas City.
- “Every trade, we’re trying to get back international money,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told reporters, including Barry Jackson and Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. It’s clear that the international market is a cornerstone of Miami’s rebuilding process, and the club has been successful in landing extra money for their int’l draft pool in recent trades with the Astros, Reds, Nationals, and (as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade package) Phillies. These extra funds have already paid dividends, as the Marlins signed highly-touted Cuban brothers Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. last October.