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The Daily Chop: LeMahieu, TC Podcast, Pederson, and more

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Finally, we have something that resembles a Braves rumor.

MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We have a rumor! Well, something resembling a rumor at least. The Braves have been silent, with nothing linking them to free agents since the signing of Charlie Morton in late-November. On Sunday, Tim Brown reported that the Braves had “reached out” to LeMahieu earlier in the offseason. The 32-year-old infielder would fit as a third baseman in Atlanta, but given his exorbitant price tag of five years, $100 million the Braves seemed an unlikely fit.

That is still likely the case. But, whenever the Braves are linked to an All-Star caliber player, there is certainly reason for intrigue. Daniel wrote the story for Talking Chop and notes that other options seem to fit more seamlessly into the Atlanta budget and lineup:

The probability of LeMahieu actually signing in Atlanta seems quite low. This is mostly due to his reported contract demands, combined with his age and less than ideal fit. LeMahieu will turn 33 this season, and is requesting a very large contract. This Braves front office has been reluctant to give large long-term deals to free agents already. In this instance, the Braves would have to outbid one of baseball’s richest teams for the right to play LeMahieu away from his natural position and move Austin Riley out of his natural position long term. This seems especially unlikely for Atlanta to do, since players like Michael Brantley and Marcell Ozuna could provide comparable offensive production for substantially less money, and play the outfield, which is an actual hole in Atlanta’s roster, even if their defense may be questionable.

Another major question mark with LeMahieu is his profile outside of hitter’s parks. His career has seen him transition from Coors Field to Yankee Stadium, both of which play extremely favorably to hitters. Truist Park would a significantly less forgiving home for LeMahieu, especially with his marked increase in groundball rate coupled with a drop in flyball rate and pull percentage from recent years. LeMahieu also cut his strikeout rate significantly in 2020, and the abbreviated season is tough to gauge anyway, but any loss of power would be concerning for a team potentially making a nine-figure investment. Could the changes be the product of an altered approach? Certainly. But every interested front office will want something more definitive going forward if they are to sign LeMahieu.

The Braves could conceivably pull the trigger, but it would certainly be surprising if they did so at his asking price.

Braves Podcasts

Talking Chop Podcast Episode 270: Cutting through the offseason silence

MLB News

In right situation, Joc may be free-agent steal

Pederson is among the best free agent bats available and should become a valuable platoon partner for a contender in 2021. His ability to mash righties should land him as a semi-regular starter and Atlanta is mentioned as a potential destination.

Here’s what Bauer wants in free agency

Trevor Bauer is looking at factors that are somewhat unusual for free agents to consider:

Bauer went on to say that some of the factors that aren’t so important to him include geography and a club’s market size. He said that among the important factors beyond the overall partnership theme include being free to use his own data-driven training methods and programs, discussing the possibility of him pitching every fourth day, and being allowed to continue his ventures off the field, including his Momentum brand that features video content and other multimedia communication with fans.