The backbone of the New York Yankees the last couple of seasons has been DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu has played gold glove defense wherever the team played him and he won the batting title this past season for the Yankees.
For the second consecutive season, LeMahieu will likely finish in the top four for the MVP vote. The 32 year old second baseman also just wrapped up his two year deal with the New York Yankees. He’s about to his free agency for the second time.
There will be plenty of suitors looking to pry LeMahieu away from the Yankees. However, you can expect the Yankees to do everything that they can to bring back LeMahieu. With a team that’s lacked consistency, he’s been the one consistent force they’ve had.
However, the fact that he will hit the open market should show you that it’s not a guarantee that the Yankees bring him back. I fully believe that they should, and I believe they will try, but I don’t expect them to do anything insane to bring back LeMahieu.
Not on the same level, but I’m reminded of the Robinson Cano situation. When Cano hit free agency, I would have bet my life savings he would retire a Yankee. However, Seattle offered him a deal that the Yankees were not comfortable matching. Thus, the marriage between the two sides ended.
What are the Yankees alternatives?
As I mentioned above, Plan A for the Yankees has to be resigning LeMahieu. However, I guarantee they’ve already been kicking the tires on potential replacements for their all-star second baseman. One place to look would be the AL Central.
The first possibility I’ll mention is the sexy move, however, the least likely. That would be the Yankees pulling off a deal for the Indians’ shortstop, Francisco Lindor. Lindor is entering the final year before free agency, and the Indians will likely make him available.
Lindor is one of the superstars of baseball. He’s a switch hitter with power, and he’s one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. Lindor turns 27 next month, and he could be a superstar for the Yankees for years to come assuming they extend him.
Doing this would also allow them to move Gleyber Torres back to second base. Torres struggled in his first season as a full-time shortstop. Many inside the organization have wondered if Torres can play that position moving forward.
The other alternative I’ll mention is calling up the Kansas City Royals about Whit Merrifield. Merrifield would be incredibly cheap financially, but he wouldn’t be cheap from a trade perspective. Merrifield has quietly been one of baseball’s best over the past couple of seasons.
Since breaking out with the Royals, Merrifield has been sensational. He can play virtually anyone on the field, and he led the majors in hits two of the last three years. In a way, he would remind fans a lot of DJ LeMahieu.
Trading for Lindor or Merrifield would cost the Yankees in prospects which is something Cashman is always hesitant to do. Again, the first priority should be trying to bring LeMahieu back. However, if the terms get crazy, there are quality alternatives out there for the bombers.