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Offseason Lowdown

Lowdown: Landing LeMahieu

by David Shovein
Updated On: January 14, 2019, 1:46 am ET

Landing LeMahieu

 

The Yankees raised some eyebrows on Friday, when Jack Curry of the YES Network reported that the team was closing in on a two-year contract with longtime Rockies’ second baseman D.J. LeMahieu.

 

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic followed shortly thereafter and reported that the deal would be for $24 million over two seasons. Curry noted that the Yankees plan to use LeMahieu in a utility role, where he’ll see time at second base, third base and first base.

 

The Yankees already have stud sophomores Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres installed at third base and second base respectively, and a combination of Greg Bird and Luke Voit at first base. That’s in addition to the signing of Troy Tulowitzki to play shortstop and Didi Gregorius who will return from Tommy John surgery around midseason.

 

Perhaps another deal is in the works, as there have been rumblings that the team could be willing to include Andujar in a deal for a top starting pitcher, such as Corey Kluber or Noah Syndergaard.

In the meantime though, it’s a nice landing spot for LeMahieu. The 30-year-old was always going to see his offensive numbers clipped with the move away from Coors Field, but Yankee Stadium is perhaps the best possible landing spot for him outside of Colorado.

 

A career .298/.350/.406 hitter, LeMahieu’s fantasy value will ultimately depend on where he winds up slotting in the Yankees’ lineup. If he hits first or second, he could be a candidate to lead the league in runs scored, providing his work all over the diamond leads to full-time at-bats. That though, would require some sort of trade or injury to open up the door.

 

LeMahieu’s ADP currently sits at 232, which is probably a bit high given the uncertainty around his playing time projection. If the Yankees do wind up dealing Andujar though and LeMahieu is locked into full-time at-bats, expect that draft stock to soar well within the top 200 players overall.

 

Focusing on Machado

 

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Sunday that the White Sox "have focused their attention this past month" on Manny Machado.

 

Nightengale says the White Sox have made an offer to Machado "for about $200 million," and they've also tried for a couple trump cards by trading for his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and signing his longtime childhood friend Jon Jay.  The three workout together in Miami every offseason.

 

Jeff Passan of ESPN added late Sunday that the reported offer to Machado is for eight years. The White Sox have been steadfast in their reluctance to go to 10 years on the contract, and reportedly they're nowhere near the $300 million threshold that Machado had been hoping for. 

 

Unless a vaunted mystery team comes into play, or the Yankees jump back into the mix, it looks like the battle for Machado will come down to the White Sox and Phillies. Keep in mind that the Phillies are currently seen as the favorites to land Bryce Harper, and it's unclear if they have a desire to sign both of the free agent superstars.

 

 

Feeling the Phillies?

 

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported on Sunday that the meeting between the Phillies’ brass and Bryce Harper went so well on Saturday that the team “might be shifting their focus from Manny Machado to Harper”.

 

Zolecki adds that the Phillies were "remarkably impressed with Harper and his wife" when the two parties met in Las Vegas. It's essentially backing up a previous report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, which said the Phillies "have emerged as the clear-cut favorite" to sign Harper.

 

Philadelphia looks like a shoo-in to sign one of the two mega free agents, and it's sounding like Harper might be the likelier of the two at this point. Per Nightengale, the Phillies are expected to make a formal offer to Harper this week.

 

Russell Reunion

 

Russell Martin was drafted by the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2002 draft. He eventually cracked the big leagues with the club in 2006, where he finished ninth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

 

The following season, he was one of the top catchers in all of baseball, earning his first All-Star nod, a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. He made another All-Star team the following season, starring as the Dodgers backstop for five years before he joined the Yankees prior to the 2011 season.

 

Now, he’s heading back to Los Angeles.

 

On Friday, the Dodgers sent minor leaguers Andrew Sopko and Ronny Brito to the Blue Jays in exchange for the 35-year-old backstop. The Dodgers are also paying the majority of the $20 million that’s owed to Martin for the 2018 season.

 

His days of being relevant from a fantasy perspective are long gone, as he slashed an anemic .194/.338/.325 with 10 homers, 25 RBI and no stolen bases in 352 plate appearances with the Jays in 2018.

 

What he does bring though, is experience, still above-average defense, leadership and versatility. With the ability to play anywhere on the infield, as well as the corner outfield spots, he and Dodgers’ starting backstop Austin Barnes give manager Dave Roberts a measure of flexibility that no other team in the National League has.

 

Heading to the NFL?

 

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that an Athletics front office contingent led by president of baseball operations Billy Beane will have a meeting with first-rounder Kyler Murray on Sunday.

 

The word is that Murray is leaning toward picking football over baseball, but Beane and the A's will try to convince the Heisman Trophy winner to forego the NFL Draft and proceed with a career on the diamond.

 

This news is a complete turnaround after Murray's agent Scott Boras said a month ago that his client would be reporting to Athletics camp this spring.

 

Murray would have to pay back the $4.66 million bonus Oakland gave him when they selected him ninth overall in last June's Draft, but he would be in line for more money than that if he's a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, which is expected.

 

Giving some hope to the A’s, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Major League Baseball could waive a rule that prevents teams from giving major league contracts to recently drafted players, if the Athletics can strike a deal with Kyler Murray that has him choose baseball over football. To be clear, MLB is not letting the Athletics circumvent the rules, they're merely allowing them to sign a major league deal, allowing them to add Murray to the 40-man roster, so long as they feel it wasn't initially discussed or promised prior to drafting him.

 

In addition to the Athletics' front office representatives that met with Kyler Murray on Sunday, Major League Baseball sent marketing executives to discuss Murray's potential off-field earning potential.

 

It doesn't sound like Murray's motivations toward entering the NFL draft are completely financially motivated, but it doesn't hurt the A's chances of keeping the ninth overall pick from last June's draft if they can give him a major league deal right out of the gate. Expect this situation to gain clarity when Murray makes his decision on Monday.

 

Arbitration Bonanza

 

With the flurry of contract activity on Friday with the deadline for players and teams to agree to contracts before heading to arbitration, here’s a quick summary of all of the results, as well as the 15 players who will reportedly head to arbitration hearings -- including Nolan Arenado who is requesting a record $30M from the Rockies. Even the Rockies’ offer of $24M would give him the highest contract ever through arbitration.

 

Angels

Tyler Skaggs - $3.7 million

Andrew Heaney - $3.4 million

J.C. Ramirez - $1.901 million

Cam Bedrosian - $1.75 million

Luis Garcia - $1.675 million

Hansel Robles - $1.4 million

Tommy La Stella - $1.35 million\

Nick Tropeano - $1.075 million

 

Astros

Roberto Osuna - $6.5 million

Collin McHugh - $5.8 million

Will Harris - $4.225 million

Lance McCullers Jr. - $4.10 million

Brad Peacock - $3.11 million

Ryan Pressly - $2.90 million

Jake Marisnick - $2.2125 million

Gerrit Cole - Heading to Arbitration (Cole $13.5M, Astros $11.425M)

Carlos Correa - Heading to Arbitration (Correa $5M, Astros $4.25M)

Chris Devenski - Heading to Arbitration (Devenski $1.65M, Astros $1.4M)

 

Athletics

Khris Davis - $16.5 million

Marcus Semien - $5.9 million

Jurickson Profar - $3.6 million

Sean Manaea - $3.15 million

Liam Hendriks - $2.15 million

Mark Canha - $2.05 million

Ryan Buchter - $1.4 million

Josh Phegley - $1.075 million

Ryan Dull - $860,000

Blake Treinen - Heading to Arbitration (Treinen $6.4M, Athletics $5.6M)

 

Blue Jays

Marcus Stroman - $7.4 million

Ken Giles - $6.3 million

Kevin Pillar - $5.8 million

Randal Grichuk - $5.0 million

Aaron Sanchez - $3.9 million

Devon Travis - $1.925 million

Brandon Drury - $1.3 million

Joe Biagini - $900,000

Ryan Tepera - Heading to Arbitration (Tepera $1.8M, Blue Jays $1.525M)

 

Braves

Kevin Gausman - $9.35 million

Michael Foltynewicz - $5.475 million

Arodys Vizcaino - $4.8 million

Adam Duvall - $2.875 million

Jonny Venters - $2.25 million

Daniel Winkler - $1.61 million

Charlie Culberson - $1.395 million

Sam Freeman - $1.375 million

 

Brewers

Corey Knebel - $5.125 million

Travis Shaw - $4.675 million

Jimmy Nelson - $3.7 million

Zach Davies - $2.6 million

Hernan Perez - $2.5 million

Junior Guerra - $2.25 million

Manny Pina - $1.6 million

Alex Claudio - $1.275 million

Erik Kratz - $1.2 million

Tyler Saladino - $887,500

 

Cardinals

Marcell Ozuna - $12.25 million

Michael Wacha - $6.35 million

Dominic Leone - $1.26 million

Chasen Shreve - $900,000

 

Cubs

Kris Bryant - $12.9 million

Kyle Hendricks - $7.405 million

Javier Baez - $5.2 million

Addison Russell - $3.4 million

Kyle Schwarber - $3.39 million

Mike Montgomery - $2.44 million

Carl Edwards Jr. - $1.5 million

 

Diamondbacks

David Peralta - $7.0 million

Robbie Ray - $6.05 million

Taijuan Walker - $5.025 million

Jake Lamb - $4.825 million

Steven Souza Jr. - $4.125 million

Nick Ahmed - $3.6625 million

Andrew Chafin - $1.945 million

Archie Bradley - $1.83 million

Matt Andriese - $920,000

John Ryan Murphy - $900,000

T.J. McFarland - Heading to Arbitration (McFarland $1.675M, Diamondbacks $1.275M)

 

Dodgers

Joc Pederson - $5.0 million

Corey Seager - $4.0 million

Chris Taylor - $3.5 million

Josh Fields - $2.85 million

Tony Cingrani - $2.65 million

Enrique Hernandez - Terms not disclosed

Pedro Baez - Terms not disclosed

Yimi Garcia - Terms not disclosed

 

Giants

Sam Dyson - $5.0 million

Will Smith - $4.225 million

Joe Panik - $3.8 million

 

Indians

Francisco Lindor - $10.85 million

Danny Salazar - $4.5 million

Leonys Martin - $3.0 million

Kevin Plawecki - $1.137 million

Neil Ramirez - $1.0 million

Nick Goody - $675,000

Cody Anderson - $641,500

Trevor Bauer - heading to Arbitration (Bauer $13M, Indians $11M)

 

Mariners

Domingo Santana - $1.95 million

Roenis Elias - $910,000

 

Marlins

J.T. Realmuto - $5.9 million

Dan Straily - $5.0 million

Jose Urena - $3.2 million

Miguel Rojas - $3.155 million

Adam Conley - $1.125 million

 

Mets

Jacob deGrom - $17.0 million

Noah Syndergaard - $6.0 million

Zack Wheeler - $5.975 million

Michael Conforto - $4.025 million

Travis d’Arnaud - $3.515 million

Steven Matz - $2.625 million

 

Nationals

Anthony Rendon - $18.8 million

Trea Turner - $3.725 million

Joe Ross - $1.0 million

Sammy Solis - $850,000

Michael Taylor - Heading to Arbitration - (Taylor $3.5M, Nationals $3.25M)

Kyle Barraclough - Heading to Arbitration (Barraclough $2.0M, Nationals $1.725M)

 

Orioles

Jonathan Villar - $4.825 million

Dylan Bundy - $2.8 million

Mychal Givens - $2.15 million

 

Padres

Kirby Yates - $3.062 million

Austin Hedges - $2.06 million

Robbie Erlin - $1.45 million

Travis Jankowski - $1.165 million

Greg Garcia - $910,000

Bryan Mitchell - $900,000

 

Phillies

Cesar Hernandez - $7.75 million

Maikel Franco - $5.2 million

Vince Velasquez - $2.249 million

Jose Alvarez - $1.925 million

Hector Neris - $1.8 million

Aaron Altherr - $1.35 million

Adam Morgan - $1.1 million

Jerad Eickhoff - $975,000

Aaron Nola - Heading to Arbitration (Nola $6.7M, Phillies $4.5M)

 

Pirates

Corey Dickerson - $8.5 million

Keone Kela - $3.175 million

Michael Feliz - $850,000

 

Rangers

Nomar Mazara - $3.3 million

Delino DeShields Jr. - $1.4 million

 

Rays

Mike Zunino - $4.412 million

Matt Duffy - $2.675 million

Chaz Roe - $1.275 million

Tommy Pham - Heading to Arbitration (Pham $4.1M, Rays $3.5M)

 

Red Sox

Mookie Betts - $20.0 million

Xander Bogaerts - $12 million

Jackie Bradley Jr. - $8.55 million

Eduardo Rodriguez - $4.3 million

Brock Holt - $3.575 million

Sandy Leon - $2.475 million

Tyler Thornburg - $1.75 million

Matt Barnes - $1.6 million

Steven Wright - $1.375 million

Heath Hembree - $1.312 million

Brandon Workman - $1.15 million

Blake Swihart - $910,000

 

Reds

Tanner Roark - $10.0 million

Scooter Gennett - $9.775 million

Yasiel Puig - $9.7 million

Jose Peraza - $2.775 million

Anthony DeSclafani - $2.125 million

Michael Lorenzen - $1.95 million

Curt Casali - $950,000

Alex Wood - Heading to Arbitration (Wood $9.65M, Reds $8.7M)

 

Rockies

Trevor Story - $5 million

Chad Bettis - $3.35 million

Jon Gray - $2.925 million

Tyler Anderson - $2.625 million

Chris Rusin - $1.6875 million

Scott Oberg - $1.3 million

Tony Wolters - $960,000

Nolan Arenado - Heading to Arbitration (Arenado $30M, Rockies $24M)

 

Royals

Brian Flynn - $800,000

Jesse Hahn - $800,000

 

Tigers

Nicholas Castellanos - $9.95 million

Shane Greene - $4 million

Matt Boyd - $2.6 million

Blaine Hardy - $1.3 million

Daniel Norris - $1.275 million

Michael Fulmer - Heading to Arbitration (Fulmer $3.4M, Tigers $2.8M)

 

Twins

Jake Odorizzi - $9.5 million

Kyle Gibson - $8.125 million

C.J. Cron - $4.8 million

Eddie Rosario - $4.19 million

Max Kepler - $3.125 million

Miguel Sano - $2.65 million

Byron Buxton - $1.75 million

Taylor Rogers - $1.525 million

Ehire Adrianza - $1.3 million

Trevor May - $900,000

 

White Sox

Jose Abreu - $16.0 million

Alex Colome - $7.325 million

Yolmer Sanchez - $4.625 million

Carlos Rodon - $4.2 million

Leury Garcia - $1.55 million

 

Yankees

Didi Gregorius - $11.75 million

James Paxton - $8.575 million

Sonny Gray - $7.5 million

Dellin Betances - $7.125 million

Aaron Hicks - $6.0 million

Austin Romine - $1.8 million

Tommy Kahnle - $1.3875 million

Greg Bird - $1.2 million

Luis Severino - Heading to Arbitration (Severino $5.25M, Yankees $4.4M)

Quick Hits: A source tells Matt Breen of Philly.com that the Phillies "remain optimistic that they will end the offseason with either (Bryce) Harper or (Manny) Machado on their roster."... The Nationals officially announced their one-year, $9 million deal with Brian Dozier, designating Matt Reynolds for assignment in the process… Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic hears the Rays are considering free agent Matt Davidson as a "potential two-way addition."... Dustin Pedroia is ready to run and test his surgically-repaired left knee…. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reports the Indians and Padres have remained in discussions on a potential trade involving Corey Kluber. The Indians have interest in Padres top prospect Adrian Morejon in a potential deal for the right-hander…. 35-year-old free agent hurler John Axford indicated that he’s hoping to sign with his native Blue Jays… Luis Urias (hamstring) is expected to be fully healthy for the start of spring training… Wil Myers is expected to return to the outfield full-time for the upcoming 2019 season… Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants are not actively trying to trade ace starter Madison Bumgarner… Reds top prospect Nick Senzel took his first swings since undergoing elbow surgery in October… The Indians claimed A.J. Cole off of waivers from the Yankees… The Phillies signed Andrew Romine to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training… The Yankees signed Drew Hutchison to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training… The Blue Jays officially signed David Phelps to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with an option for 2020.

David Shovein

Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for NBC Sports Edge. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.