Good morning, Mets fans! Here’s today’s hot stove rumor roundup!
Yankees, LeMahieu Agree to Terms
The New York Yankees and former Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu have reportedly agreed to terms on a two-year, $24MM contract. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to break the agreement, while Jack Curry of YES Network had been the first to report the length as the two sides first approached a deal.
LeMahieu, 30, comes to the Bronx on the heels of an adequate, though somewhat underwhelming 2018 campaign in which he hit just .276/.321/.428 over 128 games – his lowest total since 2013. A three-time Gold Glover at second base, however, LeMahieu led all second basemen in baseball with 18 defensive runs saved – nearly double that of the runner-up, Ian Kinsler, who had 10.
Of course, the Bombers are currently blessed with a rising star at second in Gleyber Torres, and as a result, per Curry, will deploy LeMahieu as a utility infielder. He is expected to specialize at third and first along with occasional reps at the keystone, with Miguel Andújar, Greg Bird, and Luke Voit taking shots at designated hitter when the occasion calls for it.
Given the organization’s prior commitments to both Didi Gregorius and Troy Tulowitzki along the middle of the diamond, the addition of LeMahieu most likely spells a withdrawal from the Manny Machado sweepstakes, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirming that the organization “never made an offer.”
Blue Jays Sign Phelps, Trade Martin to Dodgers
Continuing to build on their pitching depth, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed right-hander David Phelps to a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $2.5MM. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet was the first to report the signing, with Ken Rosenthal providing the financial details, including those regarding incentives. The deal includes a club option for 2020.
The 32-year old Phelps sat out all of 2018 following Tommy John surgery, but had enjoyed relative success as a long-reliever the prior three seasons between the Yankees, Miami Marlins, and Seattle Mariners, compiling a 3.50 ERA and 3.51 FIP, with his strikeouts per nine innings increasing through the years (6.2, 11.8, and 10.0, respectively), admittedly in sync with the walks (2.7, 3.9, and 4.2). He combined for a 3.2 bWAR and 3.5 fWAR in that time on the back of a sharp cutter/curveball-heavy arsenal.
In a corresponding, perhaps more noteworthy move, the Jays shipped catcher and third baseman Russell Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers, as first detailed by Sportsnet‘s own Arash Madani. The Dodgers will only pay $3.6MM of the $20MM Martin is owed ahead of 2019, with the remaining slice being covered by Toronto in exchange for prospects Ronny Brito (shortstop, 19, 21st-ranked via MLB Pipeline in 2017) and Andrew Sopko (right-handed starter, 24, unranked).
Martin returns to Hollywood after splitting the last eight years between the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Pittsburgh Pirates. Coming up on his age-36 season, the Canada native will look to rebound from the worst offensive season of his career, hitting just .194/.338/.325 in 90 games, though only allowing three passed balls while framing 8.1 runs above average.
It may be that the Dodgers intend to roll with Martin as an everyday option, though given his value relative to recently-departed Yasmani Grandal as well as the plethora of established prospects that remain up for grabs, a J.T. Realmuto certainly can’t be ruled out just yet.
Players Headed to Arbitration
With the last stage of contract negotiations for arbitration-eligible players now behind us, a handful of esteemed big-leaguers will wait until hearings next month.
With the help of league sources, ESPN‘s Jeff Passan has compiled a list of players who have yet to agree on a new contract with their respective organizations. Nolan Arenado, Gerrit Cole, and Alex Wood, all of whom will hit free agency ahead of 2020, remain without settled contracts. Arenado, per Ken Rosenthal, asked for what would have been an all-time record $30MM, with the Colorado Rockies countering at $24MM.
Among younger names worth keeping an eye on, shortstop Carlos Correa, outfielder Tommy Pham, closer Blake Treinen, and starting pitchers Trevor Bauer, Aaron Nola, Luis Severino, and Michael Fulmer will all go to proceedings as they look to enter 2019 with more desirable salaries.
The most noteworthy of acceptances belonged to Mookie Betts, who will be paid $20MM ahead of 2019 – the highest salary for a second-year arbitration-eligible player in baseball history (first reported by Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports).