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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.

Skaggs Case: Federal Agents have interviewed at least six current or former Angels players

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The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.

There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.

Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.

In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.