MLBTradeRumors released their top 50 free agents, and predicted the Detroit Tigers would sign second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
The Detroit Tigers are not expected to be very active on the free agent market. They have a few holes to fill, notably at first base, shortstop and in the starting rotation, but it is expected that they will dig through the bargain bin to find cheap one-year stopgaps at those positions.
However, MLB Trade Rumors released their top 50 free agents of the winter, and had Detroit making a couple interesting moves. One of them was the prediction that the Tigers would sign former Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $18M dollar contract.
LeMahieu to Detroit
LeMahieu had a quietly solid season in Colorado last year, blasting a career-high 15 home runs with 90 runs scored, 62 RBI, six stolen bases and a 2.0 fWAR. LeMahieu has always been known more for his glove than his bat, and last year was no exception as the veteran posted some of the best defensive numbers of his career.
At 30 years old, LeMahieu is what he is at this point. That’s a solid defensive second baseman who makes a lot of contact, steals a few bases and occasionally leaves the yard. His speed has left him a bit in the last few years, which will hurt his value. Plus, his .276 average last year was his lowest since 2014, with a higher rate of fly balls hurting his average but improving his home run output.
While $9M for LeMahieu would be a nice bargain, the Tigers are currently expected to start the upstart Niko Goodrum at second base after the rookie blasted 16 home runs and stole 12 bases last season. Goodrum could slide over to first base if needed, or could even play shortstop if the Tigers think he is capable of full-time duty there.
However, second base is not Detroit’s highest priority this offseason, and I’d rather see them go after a shortstop or a first baseman instead.
Overall, LeMahieu would make the Detroit Tigers better. But his position isn’t a huge need for the Tigers, and they are best served looking elsewhere on the free agent market.