Nationals reportedly in talks with D.J. LeMahieu

DJ_LeMahieu
Photo credit Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals are one of three teams to hold preliminary talks with free agent second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, Jon Paul Morosi reports for MLB.com.

LeMahieu, 30, has also spoken with the Twins and Dodgers.

Sources: #Nats, #Twins, #Dodgers have had at least preliminary talks with reps for free agent DJ LeMahieu. Full story here: https://t.co/Sm1PONwmLl @MLB @MLBNetwork

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 26, 2018

Because the Rockies did not extend LeMahieu a qualifying offer ($17.9 million), he will not cost his next team a draft pick, somewhat enhancing his free-agent value.

The Nats have also shown interest in Jed Lowrie, Josh Harrison and Marwin Gonzalez, according to Morosi. Gonzalez is the most targeted of the trio, as he split time at seven positions in 2018, primarily at first and second base, shortstop and left field. 

LeMahieu is coming off a down year in 2018 – relative to his own .298 career average – in which he slashed .276/.321/.428 while hitting 15 homers and 62 RBI and swiping six bags. His 32 doubles matched a career high.

LeMahieu won the NL batting title in 2016 with a .348 average, edging out Washington's Daniel Murphy, who hit .347. He would be an ideal replacement candidate for Daniel Murphy in the nation's capital. Murphy is also a free agent and has yet to sign with a club.

The stove is heating up elsewhere around the NL East, with the Braves signing a pair of one-year deals with third baseman Josh Donaldson and catcher Brian McCann.

Donaldson’s $23 million salary with #Braves will match what he earned last season in his final year of arbitration, which at the time was a record for an arb-eligible player.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 26, 2018

Brian McCann’s deal with #Braves is one year at $2 million, source confirms. @MLBNetwork @MLB

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 26, 2018

Donaldson gives Atlanta a formidable top of the order coming off its first division title in five years in 2018.

The top of the Braves' lineup is pretty devastating: Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson. Others in the NL who come close to matching:- Nationals: Eaton, Turner, Soto, Rendon- Cubs: Zobrist, Bryant, Rizzo, Baez- Rockies: Blackmon, Story, Dahl, Arenado

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 26, 2018

The Phillies, who have long expressed interest in signing both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, may not wait for the marquee free agents to decide their next homes. Morosi reports they have interest in Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ, Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, Michael Brantley and A.J. Pollock.

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