New York Yankees: New details emerge in DJ LeMahieu contract negotiations

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
Aug 8, 2020; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) fields a ground ball and throws out Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Jose Martinez (not pictured) to end the fourth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

At 32-years-old, the New York Yankees are trying to re-sign star infielder DJ LeMahieu, who spent the past two seasons in the Bronx. When general manager Brian Cashman initially signed him for two years, $24 million, nobody expected him to be as exemplary as he was. Not only was he a Silver Slugger in 2019, but he won the batting title in 2020 during the abbreviated campaign.

The expectation is that he could earn a maximum of $25 million per season on a new contract, but DJ wants to spend the next half-decade on a new deal. The Yankees are trying to stay away from long-term contracts that could bite them in the butt down the road.

However, you could make the argument that LeMahieu is a safe bet, representing multiple infield spots with his talents and an offensive maestro. Nonetheless, you could also say that Giancarlo Stanton seemed like a perfect idea when the Yankees acquired him two years ago. Now, he’s unable to play defense, and he has barely played in 40 games the past two seasons.

The New York Yankees are going to have to decide on letting LeMahieu walk or signing him to a five-year deal:

DJ’s agent is seeking a five-year, $100-million contract for his client, according to YES Network’s Jack Curry.

This past season, LeMahieu logged a .364 batting average with a career-low strikeout rate of 9.7%, 10 homers, and 27 RBIs. Keeping him in pinstripes is essential, as the Yankees would have to find a new second baseman or move Gleyber Torres back to his original position. That would also suggest they need a new shortstop, which could come by a trade with the Cleveland Indians for Francisco Lindor or signing back Didi Gregorius.

However, DJ is a fan favorite, and letting him walk would not sit well with the fan base. In addition, even if his efficiency decreases over the course of his contract, he can always slide into first base, and considering how high his batting average is now, even if he hit .270 in the fifth year, he would still be an above-average player.