Adding lemahieu takes yankees out of machado mix — right us sports guru

The second-base market was always going to be intriguing given the depth of free agents available at the position, and it was made even more interesting when the Mets traded for Robinson Cano and the A’s traded for Jurickson Profar. The Twins jumped on Jonathan Schoop on a one-year deal, the Padres scooped up Ian Kinsler and the Rockies signed Daniel Murphy to a two-year contract to play first base.

First of all, LeMahieu is an interesting player. He was once one of the most extreme opposite-field hitters in the majors — while also hitting a lot of ground balls, basically your anti-launch angle hitter.

He’s changed his game somewhat the past couple of years and hit a career-high 15 home runs in 2018 as he pulled the ball more often and hit more fly balls:

We have a below-average hitter with one big season. He’s still been a solid player, however, thanks to his defense (he won Gold Gloves in 2014, 2017 and 2018). I wonder how his game will translate to Yankee Stadium. He still hits the ball a lot to right field, which could result in some cheap home runs, but it could also lead to a lot fewer hits, since the outfield area is much smaller than at Coors, meaning there’s less room for his line drives to drop in. He also could continue hitting the ball in the air more and hit more home runs — he’s 6-foot-4, so there could be some hidden power to unlock.

Anyway, the Yankees now have LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki in the infield, with Didi Gregorius returning from Tommy John surgery sometime in the summer. Everybody seems to be flipping out about what this means for Tulo. After all, just a week ago, Brian Cashman said the team was committed to Tulo at shortstop until Gregorius returns.

OK, but that means Tulowitzki has to both stay healthy and produce. He didn’t play at all in 2018 and wasn’t good in 2017, so it’s been three years since he’s done both. And if Tulo is healthy? Fine, there is a lot of Dodgers-like flexibility here. He’ll need days off even if he’s playing well, so Torres can play some shortstop along with second base. LeMahieu moves to third base or even plays some first base. Andujar, who by the metrics rated as one of the worst fielders in the game last year, still plays a little third or maybe moves to first and DHs (with Giancarlo Stanton playing more outfield).

Yes, Lowrie is a former client of new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, but he’s also a very good player, coming off his best season at age 34, and $10 million per season will be a bargain even if he’s a 2.8-WAR player instead of 4.8. He’s a switch-hitter and provides defensive versatility. He’s primarily played second base in recent seasons, but played shortstop earlier in his career and can handle third as well. As with the Yankees, it’s all about positional flexibility.

As far as having too many infielders, here’s a reminder that the Mets gave infield starts last season to Jose Bautista, Luis Guillorme, Philip Evans, Jack Reinheimer, Ty Kelly and the ghosts of Jose Reyes and Adrian Gonzalez. There’s room for depth additions. As an example, here’s how the games could line up, keeping in mind that Lowrie also could play second or Cano could play first base:

Given their ages, Cano and Lowrie would benefit from a few extra days off. McNeil hasn’t played much outfield (just 65 innings in the minors), but the Mets say they’ll try him out there. If he can handle a corner, he could platoon with Brandon Nimmo (.946 OPS against RHP, .742 against LHP), or Nimmo or Michael Conforto could slide over to center 10 to 15 times a season. Again, there’s lots of flexibility and that’s before factoring in injuries.

From 2015 to 2017, Dozier ranked fourth among MLB second basemen in WAR, averaging 35 home runs per season with his pull-happy approach. He fell off last season with the Twins and Dodgers, hitting .215 with 21 home runs. We could attribute that to age — he was 31 — but late in the season he revealed he had played through knee soreness since April, after suffering a bone bruise. This feels like a terrific buy-low opportunity for the Nationals. At one year, they have nothing to lose and if Dozier has a big season he can re-enter the free-agent market as a more a desirable player.

The second-base market still includes Asdrubal Cabrera, who can still hit but probably profiles as more of a backup these days due to his lack of range, and Josh Harrison, who isn’t really a first-division starter anymore. The Giants are also looking to deal Joe Panik. The one contending team with a hole at second is the Brewers, who have Hernan Perez, Cory Spangenberg and Tyler Saladino as options. FanGraphs currently rates the Brewers 29th in projected WAR at second base.

The Dodgers don’t necessarily have a hole at second base — if they’re committed to Alex Verdugo in the outfield, Chris Taylor lines up at second. They also could still sign Harper or A.J. Pollock, and that also could place Taylor at second. If Taylor is needed in the outfield, they weren’t afraid to slide Max Muncy over to second. Still, they appear to have an open roster spot. I could see Cabrera landing in L.A.