MLB Baseball

Yanks finalize deals with Kluber, LeMahieu, agree with O'Day

(AP Photo/Corey Sipkin, File)

By RONALD BLUM

AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) The retooling New York Yankees finalized a $90 million, six-year contract to retain AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu on Wednesday and completed an $11 million deal to add right-hander Corey Kluber.

The Yankees also reached a $2.5 million, one-year deal with submarining right-handed reliever Darren O'Day.

Combined with Sunday's trade to acquire right-hander Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for four prospects, the moves accomplished many of New York's offseason goals following the loss to Tampa Bay in last year's playoffs.

LeMahieu, who turns 33 in July, became the first player to win undisputed batting titles in both leagues. The infielder won his first AL batting title last year at .364, the highest average for an AL batting champion since Minnesota's Joe Mauer hit .365 in 2009, after winning the NL championship with Colorado in 2016.

LeMahieu gets $15 million per season. The deal includes a full-no trade provision during the first two seasons and a limited no-trade provision starting after that giving him the right to block trades to five teams. He would have the right to approve a trade starting after the 2023 season, under the collective bargaining agreement, as a 10-year-veteran who has spent five years with his current club.

A three-time All-Star, LeMahieu signed a $24 million, two-year contract with the Yankees in January 2019. He had 10 homers and 27 RBIs in the shortened 2020 season after hitting .327 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs in his first season in New York.

LeMahieu started his big league career with the Chicago Cubs in 2011, then was traded to Colorado. He has a .305 average with 85 homers and 478 RBIs in 10 big league seasons, and he has won three Gold Gloves at second base.

Kluber, the 2014 and 2017 AL Cy Young Award winner, won 56 games for Cleveland over the 2016-18 seasons, then missed the rest of the 2019 season after he was hit on the right forearm that May 1 by a comebacker off the bat of Miami's Brian Anderson. He finished 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA in seven starts.

Traded after the season to Texas, Kluber tore a muscle in his right shoulder in his Rangers debut on July 26, finishing his season after one inning. The injury did not require surgery, and he held a workout for scouts on Wednesday.

Kluber, who turns 35 on April 10, is a three-time All-Star who is 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA in 10 seasons, the first nine with the Indians.

He joins a rotation headed by Gerrit Cole that also is projected to include Deivi Garcia, left-hander Jordan Montgomery and Taillon.

Luis Severino is expected to return at some point this season from Tommy John surgery last Feb. 27 and Domingo German is expected back from a domestic violence suspension that caused him to miss last season. The Yankee do not appear to be trying to re-sign Masahiro Tanaka, who became a free agent.

O'Day takes the bullpen spot vacated when the Yankees traded right-hander Adam Ottavino to Boston on Monday, a move that cut $7.15 million from New York's payroll. O'Day figures to join left-hander Zack Britton and right-hander Chad Green as the primary setup men for closer Aroldis Chapman.

O'Day's deal includes player and club options for 2022, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement is subject to a physical.

O'Day, 38, was 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over 19 games last year with Atlanta, striking out 22 and walking five while allowing eight hits. While his fastball averaged just 86 mph, his low arm angle creates deception; right-hander hitters batted .143 (7 for 49) off him with one home run, by Boston's Xander Bogaerts, the leadoff batter of O'Day's final appearance of the season. Left-handed hitters were 1 for 10.

He became a free agent when Atlanta declined a $3.25 million option, triggering a $250,000 buyout.

O'Day is a 13-year major league veteran, going 40-19 with a 2.51 ERA and 600 strikeouts and 158 walks in 576 2/3 innings for the Los Angeles Angels (2008), New York Mets (2009), Texas (2009-11), Baltimore (2012-18) and Braves (2019-20).

He was an All-Star in 2015, when he had a 1.52 ERA and six saves while striking out 82 in 65 1/3 innings, but he missed the final two months of the 2018 season with a strained left hamstring and the first five months of 2019 with a strained right forearm sustained during spring training.

He earned $833,333 in prorated pay last year from a $2.25 million salary, down from a $31 million, four-year contract he signed with Baltimore ahead of the 2016 season.

His wife, Elizabeth Prann, is a correspondent for HLN and CNN, formerly of Fox News.

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Updated January 27, 2021

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