Don’t fret Yankee fans, this DJ is not going anywhere.
The Yankees insured that return by coming to terms with their best hitter on a six year, $90 million dollar contract. It’s a deal that suits both sides. LeMahieu gets $15 million dollars per season, good for the Yanks because it gives them financial flexibility. (I can’t believe I’m using that term in connection with the Yankees but it’s a sign of the times) The 32-year old LeMahieu gets the long term that he was seeking.
From people in the know, LeMahieu was well aware of the financial situation with the Yankees and MLB due to the pandemic, so he was willing to negotiate and not demand a “whole lotta moolah.” He was also well aware that this was his last chance to get a lucrative contract, so the priority was the longer term. The Yankees reportedly offered four years, $80 million, so, in the end, LeMahieu gets an extra two years and $10 million more than the original offer.
The Yankees also settled “All family business” as they took care of all of their pending arbitration cases including coming to terms with Aaron Judge. Even Gary Sanchez gets a raise under this arbitration system. Remember, the late George Steinbrenner warned that arbitration, not free agency, would hurt the sport.
So after DJ signed, things began moving very quickly throughout the sport.
As I was writing this column, I had heard the Yanks were closing in on Corey Kluber. Then, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported the Yankees had an agreement with the former two-time Cy Young winner. It’s a smart gamble for a team that needs a reliable starter. I like some of the Yankees’ young arms. I think Clarke Schmidt can develop into a solid, major league starter. Schmidt has late movement on his pitches and that’s something that can’t be taught. Devi Garcia needs better command but he has shown signs he is capable of being a part of a major league rotation.
What direction will they go with the infield? Is there a Didi return in the works? If they intend on keeping Gleyber Torres at short, who backs him up. LeMahieu plays three infield positions but shortstop is not one of them. There is a switch-hitter on the market that could fill that bill. Freddy Galvis can play short, third and second. The 31-year old could be a valuable addition.
The Mets also settled nearly all of their arbitration cases, including Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto. J.D. Davis appears to be the only one who will go the hearing stage.
According to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Mets are closing in on reliever Brad Hand. The left hander would be a solid addition to the Mets’ bullpen and may make someone like Jeurys Familia expendable to use in a deal to fill another need. Familia has one year and $10 million dollars remaining on his current deal.
With their arbitration eligible players settled (except for Davis) the Mets now have an idea of what their 2021 payroll will look like. This may enable them to zero in on George Springer, who will likely not get the $175 million dollar payday that he is reportedly seeking. Toronto is reportedly making a push for Springer but his playing future may be better served with a Mets team that is serious about fielding a consistent contender.
Some of the Mets’ focus this off season has been improving the depth of their roster. Jose Martinez was a nice signing. The 32-year old is a 1B/OF who will provide the Mets with a nice right handed bat off the bench. Martinez can be a liability in the field, but he wasn’t signed for his glove.
It appears Tomas Nido is the back up catcher, but Austin Romine would look nice behind James McCann. I know Nido is friendly with Francisco Lindor but I think Romine, who can also play first base, would be an upgrade at the back up spot and would not cost that much.
Looks like J.T. Realmuto is headed back to the Phillies. Jayson Stark of the Athletic is reporting Philadelphia has offered a five year deal, worth slightly more than $100 million dollars for the 29-year old, whom many consider the best catcher in the sport.
Angels signed a catcher but will they be in play for the top pitcher on the free agent market. Trevor Bauer is from Southern California and the Angels desperately need to add some pitching because Mike Trout is not getting any younger. Bauer is reportedly seeking a deal that tops Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole’s AAV of $36 million dollars.
A decision has not been made yet, but since the World Series ended, there has been talk of not having a Universal DH this season. Don’t put that idea to bed just yet. According to USA Today Baseball Columnist Bob Nightengale, “Most baseball executives still believe there will be a Universal DH this season.”
The Players Union would have to sign off on implementing the Universal DH this season. The Owners have reportedly proposed an expanded playoff in return for having the Universal DH in place this season. Most baseball people feel the Universal DH is coming, even if it’s not used this season, so why not add it now.
Reportedly, the union could be ready to approve the 2020 rules of seven inning doubleheaders and the extra inning rule where a runner, beginning with the tenth inning, starts on second base. MLB is concerned about the uncertainty of a regular season schedule that would have to be navigated with alternative schedules to likely be determined “on the fly.”
Tune in to “Karpin’s Korner,” Sunday nights from 8-9 pm, eastern time on 365sportscast.com. Intelligent sports talk, interesting and informative guests and debatable opinions are the staple of the show. This week, Rick Carpinello, NY Rangers’ beat reporter for the Athletic will join me.