Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado chatted with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post in advance of Spring Training, saying his shoulder is at full health and that he’s eagerly anticipating the 2019 season. That’s good news for a Colorado club that’ll need its best player operating at full strength to make a run in the NL West. Of course, the big question as camp nears is whether there’s any possibility of a long-term deal to keep Arenado around for the long haul. At a minimum, he and the team need to bridge a $6MM arbitration gap. Arenado says the contract matters aren’t a distraction for him; rather, his “agent is taking care of all that.” The Rockies star said that there’s no tension or anger stemming from the arbitration talks. However, there’s yet to be any indication that the two sides will be able to see eye to eye on a long-term agreement with Arenado just months from reaching free agency.
- The Pirates announced earlier tonight that they’ve added outfielder JB Shuck on a minor league contract, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that they’re still looking for outfield additions on minor league pacts. Among the names Pittsburgh is currently eyeing are Cameron Maybin and Brandon Guyer — a pair of veteran right-handed bats who have considerably longer track records than Shuck. Of course, both Maybin and especially Guyer are coming off underwhelming seasons at the plate. Maybin would bring an element of speed to the Pirates’ bench, while Guyer is typically more of an on-base threat and has handled lefties better in his career. Either could pair with Lonnie Chisenhall in right field — Guyer and Chisenhall have previously platooned together in Cleveland — while the Pirates await Gregory Polanco’s return from shoulder surgery. Polanco is expected to be sidelined for the first couple months of the 2019 campaign.
- New Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig was primarily a right fielder with the Dodgers, but he said Wednesday evening that he’ll be prepared to play center field if his new organization asks him to do so, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Cincinnati has a clear need in center field and has been rumored to be seeking additions both via free agency and on the trade market. Puig won’t hesitate to play either outfield spot and said his primary focus is on being in the lineup on a daily basis and helping a rebuilt Reds roster push for a postseason berth. Puig also discussed the mixed emotions he felt upon learning he’d been traded and his relationship with hitting coach Turner Ward, among other topics.
- Neil Walker spoke with Marlins reporters about his one-year deal with the team (link via Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald), explaining that this offseason he put an emphasis on being signed before Spring Training began. Walker noted that he had interest from other clubs, but some were playing the waiting game for other free agents (including a few clubs who were first waiting to see what happened with Manny Machado before adding an infielder). Walker candidly called the beginning of his Yankees tenure the “worst month-and-a-half of [his] career” — not in reference to the team but rather referring to his own performance. Walker felt that his lack of a full Spring Training was a significant detriment, and he had no intention of waiting into March to sign once again. Walker hit .247/.346/.442 in the season’s second half after a disastrous start to the 2018 season.