While DJ LeMahieu played his high school ball in Michigan, a return to his old stomping grounds in the form of a Tigers contract “isn’t likely,” MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes. Detroit figures to wait until closer to Spring Training to land a second baseman, so LeMahieu will likely be off the market by then, plus his desire for a multi-year deal probably also doesn’t fit with the Tigers’ plan to acquire a short-term bridge to prospect Dawel Lugo. The Nationals, Dodgers, and Athletics have all been linked to LeMahieu at various points this offseason, though it’s probably safe to count Oakland out of the running after the team’s acquisition of Jurickson Profar. In general, Beck feels the Tigers could wait until later in the offseason to address several needs, looking for low-cost veterans or potential bargains to fill holes in the rotation, bullpen, catcher, or on the bench. The Tigers may also have to hold off on dealing Nick Castellanos until after Bryce Harper signs with a new team, in order to take stock of a newly-shuffled outfield market.
Some more from around baseball…
- Is Adam Jones a fit for the Rangers? MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan believes so, opining that Jones’ right-handed bat would help balance out the team’s heavily left-handed outfield mix, plus Jones could provide clubhouse leadership to an increasingly young team. There’s certainly an argument to be made for such a signing, or at least for a player of a similar mold, should Jones himself be a bit too expensive for the Rangers’ liking or if he only wants to play for a team aiming to contend in 2019.
- Speaking of signing veterans, MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski argues that the Orioles should see what they have in their young pitchers rather than acquiring an experienced innings-eater for the rotation. Barring a trade, Baltimore will have Andrew Cashner, Dylan Bundy, and Alex Cobb as its top three starters, which perhaps provides enough of a veteran base to allow the O’s to audition any number of young arms through the other two rotation spots.
- Nick Senzel is on pace to make his Major League debut sometime in 2019, though without a clear position to play in the Reds’ lineup, the team could deploy Senzel as a multi-positional threat, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale writes. Senzel was drafted as a third baseman and has spent much of his minor league career at the hot corner, though he saw more time at second base last season at Triple-A and even started one game at shortstop. The Reds also intended to use Senzel as a corner outfielder in Arizona Fall League play, though he was sidelined after surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow. The biggest priority for the Reds and Senzel is simply to make sure that the top prospect is healthy in the wake of an injury-shortened 2018 season, and to get him everyday at-bats no matter what position he fills around the diamond. Senzel could even be considered for some time in center field, which is the only open position the Reds have at the moment.
- Trading Kole Calhoun would help free up some payroll space for the Angels to go after pitching, though MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger isn’t sure how much the Halos could really save in such a deal. Calhoun is owed $11.5MM next season, counting both salary and a buyout of his $14MM club option for 2020, and it seems like the team would have to eat at least some of that given that Calhoun is coming off a replacement-level season. Los Angeles could also conceivably swap Calhoun for another player with a contract his team would like to unload, if such a fit could be found. Of course, the Angels are hoping for a rebound year from Calhoun and have him penciled in as their everyday right fielder, so dealing him would create another roster hole to be filled.