With the Winter Meetings and non-tender deadline behind us, we're moving deeper into MLB's offseason calendar. The biggest free agents and trade targets remain on the board, and it may be some time before the markets for each of those players fully develop. That said, the buzz never stops, and we're here to round it up for Sunday. Let us proceed with the boldness of an invading horde.
Yankees, DJ LeMahieu still far apart
The industry-wide expectation is that the Yankees will eventually re-up with hard-hitting infielder DJ LeMahieu, who's now a free agent. Like pretty much every other potential team-free agent pairing, however, this one's developing at a methodical pace. For some specifics on those negotiations, we turn to Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media:
"As of Saturday night, the gulf between the Yankees and free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu was wider than $25 million, a person with knowledge of the situation told NJ Advance Media."
LeMahieu is no doubt angling for a nine-figure contract, while the Yankees of course are trying to leverage their incumbent status to get him for less than that. Given the size of the gap, an agreement may not be in the immediate offing, and of course it remains a possibility that LeMahieu lands elsewhere.
The 32-year-old primary second baseman is coming off an abbreviated 2020 season in which he batted .364/.421/.590 with 10 home runs and 10 doubles in 50 games and a third-place finish in the AL MVP balloting. Across two seasons with the Yankees, LeMahieu owns an impressive OPS+ of 145 with the batted-ball metrics to back it up. Throw in his ability to man a middle infield position, and he's rightly coveted. As such, the Yankees should be careful not to overplay their hand with him.
Corey Kluber preparing to throw for teams
Free agent right-hander Corey Kluber is planning to throw bullpen sessions for teams with potential interest in signing him later in December, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. The Red Sox and Twins have already been linked to the two-time Cy Young winner, and if he impresses on the mound then his market will no doubt grow substantially.
Kluber, 34, barely pitched at all in his one and likely only season with the Rangers because of shoulder problems. The prior season, a broken forearm limited Kluber to just 35 2/3 largely ineffective innings with Cleveland. All that said, Kluber isn't far removed from pitching at an ace level, and as recently as 2018 he was among the best starting pitchers in baseball.