Update 1/14/19: The Yankees made the DJ LeMahieu signing official. As a corresponding move, the team designated Tim Locastro for assignment. The outfielder joined the Yankees in a pre-Thanksgiving trade, when the Bombers sent Drew Finley to the Dodgers. We’ll always have that minor trade.
1/11/19: The Yankees are about to land a free agent infielder, but he’s not Manny Machado. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Bombers are giving a two-year deal worth $24 million for second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Jack Curry first had reports of an imminent deal.
The 30-year-old is fresh off a 2018 season that saw him hit .276/.321/.428 with 15 home runs (86 wRC+). It’s pretty clear that his 2016 season was an aberration and not the norm. That season LeMahieu hit .348/.416/.495 with a 130 wRC+. Otherwise he has a below average bat, even with the benefit of playing at Coors Field.
Per Curry, the Yankees intend to play LeMahieu as a super-utilityman. He will get opportunities at second, third, and first base. Having played almost exclusively at second base, where he grades out okay, this is a questionable move. It sounds like an idea that is okay in January and then becomes frustrating all season long.
The big question of course, is why not just spend on Machado? Having Troy Tulowitzki and LeMahieu in the same infield is a strange move when clearly superior options exist. This offseason has been nothing if not puzzling.