Some items from around the Senior Circuit…
- The Marlins had some interest in free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter), though talks “never got close” between the two sides. It’s surprising to see the rebuilding Marlins make a play in any sort of veteran this offseason, though as Rosenthal puts it, Miami saw LeMahieu as an “undervalued asset at potential below-market price.” While it took until early January for LeMahieu to land his two-year, $24MM deal from the Yankees, the second baseman still had a pretty robust market, with multiple teams (including the Giants, Nationals, Dodgers, and Athletics) showing interest in his services. It stands to reason that several others at least checked in, as the Yankees hadn’t been linked to LeMahieu before their deal was announced and Miami was certainly off the radar as a potential candidate. LeMahieu’s $24MM total also topped MLBTR’s prediction of a two-year, $18MM contract for the free agent second baseman, so it’s fair to assume that his market never dropped to the point that the Marlins could’ve made a play.
- Keeping with the Marlins, right-hander Dan Straily remains “high atop the team’s trade list,” the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo writes. Straily drew quite a bit of trade attention last winter but his stock dropped after a forearm injury limited him to just 122 1/3 IP in 2018, and some rough advanced metric numbers. Straily’s .350 xwOBA was well above his .324 wOBA, and ERA indicators (5.11 FIP, 4.99 xFIP, 4.92 SIERA) paint a lesser picture of his 4.12 ERA. This could make it hard for the Marlins to get their desired “nice return” for the righty, as Cafardo describes it, though he suggests that Miami could get more offers on Straily after other pitching targets in free agency or the trade market come off the board. Straily is controllable for the next two years and isn’t very expensive, as he and the Marlins recently agreed to a $5MM contract for 2019 to avoid arbitration.
- Also from Cafardo, he hears from Dodgers southpaw Rich Hill that the veteran hurler “absolutely” plans to continue his career into the 2020 season. Hill is entering the final season of his three-year, $48MM deal with the Dodgers, and it seemed logical to wonder if Hill could be considering retirement, given that he turns 39 in March and has dealt with a number of injuries throughout his career. That said, it also isn’t surprising that Hill wants to keep going in the wake of his late-career revival, as the southpaw has a 2.98 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.76 K/BB rate over 407 2/3 IP in 2015-18. If Hill manages can duplicate his performance in 2019, it certainly seems like he’ll be able to land another contract (if a short-term deal) from a contending team. “There’s a lot more left in the tank. I want that ring,” Hill said, in reference to the Dodgers’ close calls in the World Series in each of the last two seasons.