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.
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 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.
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.
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
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)
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)
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)
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
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
Marcell Ozuna - $12.25 million
Michael Wacha - $6.35 million
Dominic Leone - $1.26 million
Chasen Shreve - $900,000
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
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)
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
Sam Dyson - $5.0 million
Will Smith - $4.225 million
Joe Panik - $3.8 million
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)
Domingo Santana - $1.95 million
Roenis Elias - $910,000
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
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
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)
Jonathan Villar - $4.825 million
Dylan Bundy - $2.8 million
Mychal Givens - $2.15 million
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
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)
Corey Dickerson - $8.5 million
Keone Kela - $3.175 million
Michael Feliz - $850,000
Nomar Mazara - $3.3 million
Delino DeShields Jr. - $1.4 million
Mike Zunino - $4.412 million
Chaz Roe - $1.275 million
Tommy Pham - Heading to Arbitration (Pham $4.1M, Rays $3.5M)
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
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)
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)
Brian Flynn - $800,000
Jesse Hahn - $800,000
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)
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
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
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.