New York Yankees Breaking News: DJ LeMahieu has rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have a new free agent. Today DJ LeMahieu rejected the Yankees qualifying offer of one year at $18.9 million, making him a free agent and able to test what the market has to offer. Reportedly there is a bevy of teams that will take a long serious look at acquiring the 2020 batting title champ. Among them are the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodger, and yes, the New York Yankees.  Today, rejecting the Yankees offer isn’t the end of the story; the Yankees can and will negotiate to keep the star in pinstripes.

The Red Sox need a second baseman and would love to see LeMahieu at second base playing against his Yankees. The Red Sox long time second baseman Dustin Pedroia has $12 million left on his contract. Although the Red Sox and their fans love the second baseman, he has played only nine games in the past three seasons, including one game during 2020. The money is on the Red Sox and Pedroia coming to an agreement and leading to his baseball retirement. The Red Sox with its new manager Alex Cora would love to see DJ leading off their lineup. Mookie Betts, that the Sox lost to the Dodgers, was their leadoff man for years.

The Philadelphia Phillies are also in play for acquiring DJ. Last year the Phillies acquired Didi Gregorius from the Yankees in free agency. To upgrade their shortstop, they moved Jean Segura to second base and slotted in Didi at short. Now Didi is a free agent. The Phillies could move Segura back to short and open up second base for LeMahieu.

After being 2019 World Champions, the Washington Nationals crashed back to earth, ending the 2020 season in fourth place in the NL East. The Nationals showed interest in LeMahieu before the Yankees acquired him from his days as a Colorado Rocky; there is no reason to believe that they won’t be interested in him this time. The Nationals last year used call- up Luis Garcia at second.  His .302 OBP and poor defense will likely have him back in the minors this year. That will open up second base for LeMahieu, but the Nationals would be happy to see him in any infield position for the 2021 season.

The big problem for the Yankees is that the wealthy Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in LeMahieu. The Dodgers are World Champions and would like to defend that and win their second Fall Classic in a row, there second since 1988. With all the platooning the manager Dave Roberts does, LeMahieu can play anywhere in the infield and is the perfect fit. The Dodgers are likely the only team with the money to compete with the Yankees in the offseason.

Lastly, but most importantly, the New York Yankees will do everything in their power to keep LeMahieu leading off for them and playing at second or another infield position. After acquiring DJ before the 2019 season, they gave him a $24 million contract keeping him in pinstripes through the end of this season. DJ has been a dream come true for the Yankees. He is called the “machine” for his ability to get on base. He led the Yankees both years in hits. In 2019 he was a Silver Slugger, this year, he is in the running to be AL MVP. He also won the batting title, the only player to win the award in both leagues.

Yankee general manager Brian Cashman will have to get creative in trying to keep DJ playing at Yankees Stadium. The talk is that he will most likely want a payday near double what he earned last year and will want a contract long enough to provide him with security in the coming years. At 32, he likely has four more good years in him. Although the competition for LeMahieu will be fierce, the Yankees may have the upper hand. DJ likes New York and playing for the Yankees. He has also has made it be known that he would like to continue playing for the Yankees,