News & Notes: LeMahieu rejects QO, Yanks interested in Simmons, and MiLB affiliate news

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The hot stove season is underway, sort of. Things are pretty quiet on the rumor mill and only a couple of notable transactions have occurred. Robbie Ray re-signed with Toronto earlier this week and Marcus Stroman accepted the qualifying offer to remain with the Mets. The Yankees have some qualifying offer news too, which leads us right into today’s notes.

DJ LeMahieu will reject qualifying offer

This isn’t a surprise. Today’s the decision deadline for players who received the qualifying and LeMahieu will not accept. If my understanding of the qualifying offer rules are correct, the Yankees are now eligible to receive a compensation pick after the fourth round of next year’s amateur draft should LeMahieu sign elsewhere.

The median contract value per FanGraphs’ crowdsourcing for LeMahieu is $42 million of three years, which is an absolute bargain. The average was a bit higher at 3.45 years and $62.1 million ($18 million AAV), but still very reasonable for the second baseman. I’d be very happy if the Yankees could bring him back at either of those prices, although their sights could be elsewhere. Hell, we let him walk in our plan released yesterday.

Yankees are in touch with Andrelton Simmons

Here’s one alternative to LeMahieu. 31 year-old shortstop Andrelton Simmons is one of the three notable players at that position in free agency (Didi Gregorius and Marcus Semien the others) and the Yankees are keeping tabs. Signing Simmons, or any other shortstop, would shift Gleyber Torres back to second base going forward.

If it was between DJLM and Simmons, the easy choice is the former. But the Yankees do have to keep their options open, so it’s not a shock that they are talking to Simmons. Still, I think we’re all hoping that they set their sights higher if LeMahieu departs. Francisco Lindor, please.

I’m sure we’ll do a free agent profile of Simmons at some point, but let’s give a quick snippet for now. The longtime defensive whiz was banged up this year (ankle) and hit .297/.346/.356 (99 wRC+) in 127 plate appearances. He’s got a lifetime .269/.317/.379 (91 wRC+) batting line, so you’re not getting to much from him offensively. Defense has always been the name of his game, but in recent years, it’s slipped. Whether its Outs Above Average, DRS, or UZR, the metrics have gone down annually since 2018. Believe it or not, per those metrics, Simmons was a below average defender in 2020. Of course, it’s a limited sample and he was hurt.

Yankees re-shuffle minor league structure

This is a few days old, but here’s the gist: the Trenton Thunder, Charleston RiverDogs, Staten Island Yankees, and Pulaski Yankees are no longer affiliated with the Yankees organization. There are no replacements for Staten Island or Pulaski, but the Double-A and Single-A levels have new clubs. The Somerset Patriots, formerly of the Independent Atlantic League, are now the Yankees’ Double-A team. Meanwhile, the Hudson Valley Renegades, previously in the same league as Staten Island, now move up to High-A. This also means that the Tampa Tarpons move down from High-A to Single-A. Got it?

Ownership at Trenton and Staten Island aren’t too pleased with how the Yankees relayed this news to them. The Yankees were not pleased with the facilities at either ballpark, but the owners of those clubs essentially said that they were blindsided by these announcements.

From a personal standpoint, I will miss going to games in Trenton and even Staten Island. Trenton was an easy drive and I’ve seen plenty of notable prospects there, from Eric Duncan to Joba Chamberlain and more. Oh, and the bat dogs! They will be missed.

I remember seeing Adam Warren and Tyler Wade, among others, at SI. Great view out over center field there too, of course. At least Somerset and Hudson Valley are nearby.

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3 Comments

  1. DanGer

    Strong meh on Simmons. Feel like it’s only a matter of time until he turns into T-Wade.

    .271/.318/.362 over his last 2 seasons (133 games) including just 7 doubles, zero triples, and zero homers in 30 games last year. And as noted, defensive metrics seem to have him slipping.

  2. MikeD

    As a fan who likes to take in minor league games during the season, the one team that I wanted to see but I had the most difficulty getting to was the Staten Island Yankees. I believe it’s easier if you’re already in the city. If you’re in the suburbs, it’s a challenge. With that, quite happy the Renegades have switched from short-season A with the Rays to full-season, high-A with the Yankees. That’s a level where the prospects become interesting. I usually get to a couple of Renegades games each year. I suspect that number will increase in 2021. Let’s hope there’s minor league baseball!

  3. Troy

    You will grow to like Somerset. Nice stadium, well run and great fans. A terrific place to see a ballgame.

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