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Yankees close to signing DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million deal

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The New York Yankees are close to signing free agent infielder DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million deal, Jack Curry of YES and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report. The deal is pending a physical.

This is somewhat unexpected as LeMahieu, a second baseman, wouldn’t seem to have a place to play in New York given that Gleyber Torres is currently at second base. Curry says, however, that the Yankees envision LeMahieu playing multiple infield positions, including first and third base, in addition to second. It’s also worth noting that Torres can handle shortstop, where the injury-prone and quite rusty Troy Tulowitzki is currently penciled in.

Of course, the Yankees likewise have Miguel Andujar at third base and, at some point this year, Didi Gregorius will come back from elbow surgery. There will certainly be a lot of parts for Aaron Boone to move around, that’s for sure. It would also seem that this move definitively takes the Yankees out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes, at least unless they make a trade to free up someplace for him to play.

LeMahieu, 30, was the N.L. batting champ for the Rockies in 2016, but has hit a combined .294/.350/.418 (91 OPS+) over the past two seasons.  That came in Coors Field, but Yankee Stadium is not a bad place to hit in its own right. The question is, how often will he get a chance to hit given how crowded the Yankees infield is.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.