Well, I cannot say I saw this one coming.
According to multiple sources, the New York Yankees, who had the HOTS for Manny Machado early in the offseason, have just signed middle infielder D.J. LeMahieu:
Yankees are closing in on a two-year deal with infielder DJ LeMahieu,
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) January 11, 2019
Jeff Passan, Ken Rosenthal, and others have since backed up that initial report, suggesting that this is, indeed, real and only pending a physical. According to Passan the deal is expected to be in the $22-$24M range, which is YET ANOTHER cheap and, more specifically, oddly short deal.
Because while LeMahieu has his flaws, he was rumored to get much more than that once the offseason got underway – remember, he was apparently priced out of the Nationals range (and the Cubs’ too, but that clearly means something different right now than we thought it did at the time). And as for only two guaranteed years, well, I can’t say I’m shocked because contracts have been trending in that direction, but LeMahieu is only 30 years old, has won consecutive Gold Glove awards at second base (though he has three overall) and was an All-Star in 2017 and 2015.
And our deeper dives into his peripherals revealed a player on the up-swing. I’m not saying I wanted or even thought the Cubs would get LeMahieu – with Daniel Descalso in the fold and their apparent budgetary limitations that was never likely – but I am surprised he didn’t get a little more (for what it’s worth, this is actually more than MLB Trade Rumors projected at the start of the offseason, but LeMahieu’s stock had risen soon after the winter began).
Now to the more exciting bit: What does this mean for the Yankees and Manny Machado? Well, I mean, yeah, I can no longer see the Yankees being active (or favored) players for Manny Machado. Their interest did seem to wane in recent weeks, but even with the addition of Troy Tulowitzki, I just assumed they’d still be there until the end. But now? I’m not so sure.
Consider that they now have Gleyber Torres, Troy Tulowitzki, and D.J. LeMahieu to cover just two infield spots … BEFORE Didi Gregorius returns from Tommy John surgery at some point early in the year. Indeed, their entire infield is already quite crowded and should be a juggling act to balance. Adding Machado to that mix would be nuts.
Now I think the chances of Machado landing with the Phillies and/or White Sox just crept up quite a bit – who knows, maybe the Yankees knew Machado had already made a decision that did not include them and they proceeded accordingly. In any case, this marks the continued explosion of the infield market, following Brian Dozier’s deal with the Nationals and Jed Lowrie’s deal with the Mets. And remember, the Brewers are thought to be looking for more infield help, so this is yet another potential option off the board for them.
Things are happening stay tuned.