In the wake of the Yankees’ agreement with infielder DJ LeMahieu, their talks with free agent Manny Machado “are either dormant or completely dead,” ESPN’s Buster Olney writes (subscription required). Although Machado would greatly improve the Yankees’ infield, they haven’t been willing to approach his exorbitant asking price, and there’s no obvious free spot in their infield with LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki having come aboard this offseason. While the Yankees could trade third baseman Miguel Andujar to open up room for Machado, it seems they’re more inclined to bet on the former, as Olney details. Andujar excelled at the plate in 2018, his rookie year, but had a horrific time in the field. However, Andujar has consistently demonstrated a willingness to better his defense – including this winter – and the Yankees are confident his work will yield positive results in 2019. If not, Olney posits the Yankees could make a run at Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado should he reach free agency a year from now.
Here’s more from the American League:
- The Rangers have continued to discuss a couple of free-agent infielders – Josh Harrison and Yangervis Solarte – and stayed in contact with free-agent right-hander Adam Ottavino, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Either Harrison or Solarte, the latter of whom has already been in the Texas organization, could help fill the void for the departed Adrian Beltre and Jurickson Profar at third base. Ottavino, meanwhile, would be the priciest of the three to reel in, as he lags behind only Craig Kimbrel when it comes to current free-agent relievers. Contending clubs may be more realistic fits for the 33-year-old Ottavino than the Rangers, who don’t figure to push for a playoff spot in 2019.
- Free-agent reliever John Axford said Saturday that he hopes to rejoin the Blue Jays, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tweets. A native of Canada, Axford signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays last February and stuck in Toronto up until the club traded him to the Dodgers at the July 31 non-waiver deadline. All told, the 35-year-old right-hander pitched to an ugly 5.27 ERA in 54 2/3 innings. Much of the damage came in Axford’s 3 2/3 frames as a Dodger, though, and he did pair playable strikeout and walk numbers (8.89 K/9, 3.62 BB/9) with an appealing groundball rate (54.6 percent).
- The Angels opted out of their ballpark lease in October, which could make the upcoming season the team’s last at Angel Stadium. But the Angels are “expected” to sign a one-year lease with the city of Anaheim to remain at the facility through at least the 2020 campaign, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Should that come to fruition, the two sides would then work toward a long-term solution to keep the Angels in Anaheim, Shaikin notes. The franchise has called Angel Stadium home since 1966.