Yankees Add D.J. LeMahieu, Signaling Reduced Interest in Manny Machado

A day after the Mets secured a free-agent second baseman — despite having a full infield already — the Yankees did the same thing by adding D. J. LeMahieu, a three-time Gold Glove winner who won the National League batting crown in 2016.

The Yankees reached a two-year, $24 million contract agreement on Friday with LeMahieu, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. The deal, which will not be official until LeMahieu passes a physical, came one day after the Mets reached a two-year, $20 million agreement with Jed Lowrie.

LeMahieu, 30, has been a mainstay for seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies. He is usually a solid contact hitter who batted .348 in 2016 yet slipped to .276 last season while hitting a career-high 15 home runs. For his career, he is usually a .298 hitter which has a .350 on-base percentage along which has a .406 slugging percentage.

The signing of LeMahieu is usually another signal of the Yankees’ seemingly tepid interest in Manny Machado, the star free-agent shortstop. The Yankees courted Machado, 26, in brand-new York last month, yet they have shown little desire to give him the type of groundbreaking contract he is usually said to be seeking.

Like many Rockies, LeMahieu has hit much better in Denver, with its thin air along with its vast open spaces within the outfield. The right-handed LeMahieu is usually a .329 career hitter at Coors Field, compared with .266 on the road. The split was more pronounced last season, when LeMahieu hit .317 in Denver along with .229 elsewhere.

Even so, he should help the Yankees reduce their strikeouts — only two American League teams, the Texas Rangers along with Chicago White Sox, were fanned more times last season — while bolstering their infield defense. LeMahieu has played only second base over the last four seasons, yet he has also played 41 games within the majors at third base along with four at first.

The Yankees will probably use LeMahieu at all of those spots, yet he has excelled at second. Fangraphs ranked LeMahieu as the best defender among 16 qualified major league second basemen last season, along with his presence complicates the position of Gleyber Torres, who ranked as the worst defensive second baseman.

Last week, with shortstop Didi Gregorius recovering through Tommy John surgery, the Yankees signed the veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who missed last season with bone spurs in his heels, to a one-year, minimum-salary contract. yet they could also use Torres at short, his regular position within the minors.

Torres also made seven starts at third base within the minors last season along with 15 in 2017. Fangraphs ranked the Yankees’ Miguel Andujar last on defense among 19 qualifiers at third base, along with the Yankees seemed to agree in October: They removed him for defense in both of their playoff victories along with benched him for their elimination game against Boston.

While a trade could always ease their infield logjam, the Yankees for today plan to benefit through LeMahieu’s presence within the same way the Mets trust to benefit through Lowrie’s. A deep roster of dependable, versatile players — along with the bonus of the designated hitter spot, a luxury the Mets do not have within the N.L. — would likely allow the Yankees to keep everyone fresh along with construct lineups based on platoon advantages, a successful formula for several contenders.


The Mets re-signed starter Jacob deGrom to a one-year, $17 million contract on Friday, avoiding arbitration. DeGrom earned $7.4 million last season while winning the National League Cy Young Award, along with his $9.6 million raise is usually a record for an arbitration-eligible player. Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts briefly held the record on Friday after agreeing to a $20 million salary — $9.5 million more than he made last season, while winning the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award. The Mets — whose brand-new general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, is usually deGrom’s former agent — remain interested in a long-term extension with deGrom, 30, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.