The Chicago White Sox announced this afternoon that they’ve requested release waivers on infielder Brett Lawrie. This is a preliminary move made with the intention of giving him his unconditional release.
The White Sox and Lawrie agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal back in December, avoiding arbitration. That was a salary cut from the year before, but if they didn’t want him they could’ve simply non-tendered him. What happened between December and now is unclear, but he’s obviously no longer in Chicago’s plans.
Lawrie posted a more or less normal-for-him season in 2016, batting .248/.310/.413. His career line is .261/.315/.419. He was the White Sox’ second baseman last year after playing mostly third base for the A’s and Blue Jays earlier in his career.
It’s been quite a fall for Lawrie over the past few years. He was once thought of as a potential star. While he never realized his potential in Toronto, he was still valued enough to where the Jays were able to use him as the centerpiece in a package to acquire Josh Donaldson before the 2015 season. Donaldson went on to win the MVP in his first year in Toronto.
Now Lawrie is looking for a job at a time of the year when most teams are looking to cut players, not sign them.
Craig Mish of SiriusXM reports that the Brewers have put together a trade offer for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. He describes the club’s interest in Yelich as “strong,” and notes that other teams remain in the mix.
Yelich’s relationship with the Marlins was recently described by his agent as “irretrievably broken” following the trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon. His agent said Yelich “needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win.” Understandably, teams have been calling the Marlins asking about him.
The 26-year-old hit .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances last season. He’s in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49.57 million contract of which $44.5 million remains. Given how slow the free agent market has been this offseason, it’s difficult to say exactly what he would get if he were to hit the open market, but it is safe to say that his current contract is very much a bargain for his team, which only makes him even more attractive to inquiring teams.
The Brewers are an interesting team to get involved in the Yelich sweepstakes. Their outfield already has three capable players in Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, and Keon Broxton. Yelich would still be an upgrade, but the Brewers’ resources may be better spent in other areas like the starting rotation.
Given Yelich’s displeasure and Jeter’s insistence on stripping the Marlins bare — including, potentially, the iconic home run sculpture — it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see a trade happen.