The biggest storyline this off-season is going to be star second baseman DJ LeMahieu and his hopeful return to the New York Yankees.
Losing LeMahieu in free agency would be a catastrophic situation, as he led the team in batting average in 2020 and is one of their most consistent defenders.
Overall, DJ has been their saving grace over the past two seasons after he signed a two-year, $24 million deal in 2019. General manager Brian Cashman needs to do whatever it takes to bring him back, but he will be looking for significant money.
Some believe that LeMahieu could look for a contract worth up to $23 million per season, and the Yankees might not have the flexibility to keep him at that price point. He has stated in the past that staying with the Yankees would be the preferred move, but the loss of revenue due to COVID-19 and paying Gerrit Cole an exorbitant amount of money every year hurts their ability to push past the luxury tax threshold.
According to Fansided, former Yankee Mark Teixeira believes DJ could be on his way out.
â€œI think thereâ€™s a couple ways DJ LeMahieu could become a casualty. The other would be if the Yankees are trying to get underneath the luxury tax threshold. Thereâ€™s a lot of people that are gonna want DJ LeMahieu on their team, and if heâ€™s getting a huge contract, the Yankees are gonna need to spend that money in other places. We talked about their starting pitching staff. I think as someone that follow the Yankees, and as a Yankee fan and former player, Iâ€™d love to see them sign DJ LeMahieu, but thereâ€™s going to be plenty of other teams that are vying for his services.â€
Considering how valuable DJ has been for the Yankees the past two seasons, other teams have obviously seen his success. They know that adding a player of his quality would significantly improve their chances of victory, especially for a club that is eyeing a postseason run in 2021.
Without him, though, the Yankees might find themselves in a problematic situation, as LeMahieu was one of their more clutch hitters and can play multiple defensive positions. This ultimately comes down to ownership, and if they are willing to agree on a return price, which will be expensive.