The New York Yankees currently look like a team that is just falling apart. There is nothing stable with the team, and they look like they are only going to make the playoffs this year due to the COVID playoff expansion. Nobody would have thought that before the year started.
While pretty much everyone on the team has disappointed, one person who has remained consistent is DJ LeMahieu. Since signing a two year deal with the Yankees before the 2019 season, LeMahieu has been the team’s MVP. He’s currently hitting .363 on the season.
LeMahieu plays gold glove level defense at three different spots in the infield. His value to the Yankees cannot be questioned over these past couple of seasons. LeMahieu is set to become a free agent after the season is over. While it seems obvious to extend LeMahieu, there’s one player that could complicate things.
The Yankees and Francisco Lindor
One of baseball’s superstars is the Indians shortstop, Francisco Lindor. Lindor has long been a favorite of the Yankees and virtually every team in baseball. Lindor is a switch hitter who hits for average and power. He’s also a platinum glove winner at shortstop.
The Indians are likely going to move Lindor in the offseason due to the fact that they won’t be able to keep him long term. While the Dodgers are seen as a potential landing spot, I think the Yankees will be in on those discussions for Lindor.
I really don’t believe that the Yankees see Gleyber Torres as a long term solution at shortstop. He’s much better suited to play second base. That being said, the Yankees might need to find someone who could be that long term solution. That is where the Lindor interest picks up.
The Yankees Options
Obviously, the Yankees love DJ LeMahieu. I mean how could you not after everything he’s done for the team? However, if they could trade and extend Lindor, would they be comfortable letting LeMahieu walk? Could they bring both back? What are the options?
The easiest option would be to leave Lindor alone and just sign LeMahieu to an extension. This is not a losing strategy by any means as the Yankees would be retaining their current star for many years moving forward. They would still have an infield of LeMahieu, Torres, Urshela, and Voit.
Another option would be to let LeMahieu walk, and make the trade for Lindor. This would hurt because LeMahieu would be leaving and Cashman would have to deal some prospects. However, you’d be getting a 27 year old superstar that plays arguably baseball’s most premium position at the highest level.
There is a third option which would be tricky. Why not both? This of course would cost the Yankees the most money, but they could always have both, but this strategy would likely mean saying goodbye to Gio Urshela. If the Yankees pulled off a move and both wore pinstripes, I would expect LeMahieu to shift to third full time.
What should they do?
It’s not my money, so of course I think they should pursue both when the season ends. I don’t think it would be responsible for the Yankees to pass up the opportunity to land Francisco Lindor. If the Yankees could pull off a deal for him, that would be priority number one for me personally.
If Gleyber Torres wasn’t such a liability at shortstop, my answer might be different. However, I love the idea of Lindor at shortstop and Torres at second moving forward. Having LeMahieu at third would just make things even better.
Defense has been a liability for the Yankees this year. However, imagine having a left side of the infield featuring LeMahieu and Lindor? That would make any pitcher feel comfortable inducing ground balls.
What I expect
Ultimately, I don’t think the Yankees will land Lindor, but I do think they will extend LeMahieu. I just don’t see Brian Cashman doing what it takes to make the trade for Lindor. I think Lindor will end up being dealt and he’ll sign a massive extension like Mookie Betts did.
The Yankees would then move forward with the infield as is with LeMahieu, Torres, Urshela, and Voit. They would just be praying and banking on Torres becoming someone who could handle shortstop at a much higher level. What do you think the Yankees should do?