Baseball season is lurking. The Super Bowl is in the rearview mirror and we’re starting to see teams post social media photos of moving trucks heading to either Florida or Arizona with pitchers and catchers reporting in a few days, and yet we’re still waiting more than a dozen needle-moving free agents to sign.
Let’s round up the activity for the day here.
Yankees willing to offer Machado more than $200 million?
The Yankees have already added a few infielders this winter, in former Colorado Rockies double-play combination Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu. Yet New York continues to hold interest in Manny Machado. The latest, from MLB Network analyst Jim Duquette:
Duquette notes that he isn’t sure if the Yankees have made an official offer (and made a clarification about his statements on Twitter), but believes the sides have discussed a seven- or eight-year deal worth around $220 million. He adds that he believes numerous teams are within that range, with one likely exceeding it.
Essentially, the Yankees hope to leverage Machado’s reported desire to play for them — to the extent that he’s forced to take less money in order to do so. Shrewd business, perhaps, but not if Machado elects to take the highest offer.
The Yankees are currently projected to have a payroll just below the $200 million mark. If that holds, then 2019 will represent the third consecutive season they’ve entered the season with less than $200 million on the books. The Yankees had reduced their payroll in each of the prior two seasons — ostensibly with an eye on landing a talent like Machado this winter.
Lawrie returns with Brewers
Here’s a surprise. Brett Lawrie is back, having signed a minor-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers after missing the previous two seasons. Lawrie’s deal includes a club option and could be worth up to $7 million:
During Lawrie’s six seasons in the majors, he posted a 101 OPS+ and was worth 15 wins above replacement. If he can return to his old form, he should see time in the Show once again, this time with the same franchise that originally drafted him.
Twins ink Duda
The Twins entered Saturday having already added a new DH (Nelson Cruz) and first baseman (C.J. Cron) this winter. Yet that didn’t stop them from signing Lucas Duda to a minor-league deal:
Duda has finished with an OPS+ below 100 in two of the past three seasons (albeit only barely last year). He excelled in a pinch-hitting role with the Atlanta Braves down the stretch, and it’s possible the Twins envision him taking up a bench spot.
It’s worth noting the Twins have Tyler Austin hanging around, too. One way or another, the Twins seem to be in good position so far as first-base and DH depth goes.
Madson contemplating retirement
It was reported last week that free-agent reliever Ryan Madson was nearing a deal with an unspecified team. That transaction has yet to occur, and may never happen. Madson, per Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, is considering hanging up his cleats.
Madson is coming off a season split between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. He finished with a 77 ERA+ and 3.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 52 innings. Madson will turn 39 in August. If his career is over, it was a good one.
Royals sign Bailey
Earlier this winter, Homer Bailey was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Cincinnati Reds. He was subsequently released, the Dodgers having no room or interest in employing him. Nonetheless, it appears Bailey will be wearing blue and gray this spring, as he’s latched on with the Kansas City Royals, per the Athletic’s Rustin Dodd.
Last season, Bailey posted a 6.09 ERA in 106 innings. He did strike out more than twice the amount of batters he walked, to his credit, but that’s about the nicest thing you can highlight about his effort statistically.
Bailey is the second well-known veteran arm inked by the Royals this week. Previously, they added Brad Boxberger.