New York Yankees News/Rumors: How much is too much for DJ LeMahieu, and will the Yankees go there

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

One of the most sought after free agents is DJ LeMahieu, and that’s not a good thing for the New York Yankees. The Yankees have many needs, including rebuilding a pitching rotation that can win a season for them. But another priority is re-signing DJ LeMahieu, their award-winning second baseman. General manager Brian Cashman got him from the Colorado Rockies for $24 million on a two-year deal.

Fortunately and unfortunately, LeMahieu was more than that Yankees ever could have asked for and outperformed his contract big time. He was a Silver Slugger batting .327 with 26 home runs and providing excellent defense. This year he just got better, leading all of baseball with a hitting title .364 batting average and hitting 10 home runs in this short season. He became the first player in modern times to win the title in both leagues.

Because he is so good now that he is a free agent again, he is drawing the attention of many teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals, and yes, the New York Mets. LeMahieu has indicated that he likes New York and like playing for the Yankees. That attitude may give the New York Yankees an edge in keeping his services. Although DJ or his agent have hinted at what money he would want, they have indicated he will be looking for a five-year contract.

That may be a longer contract than the Yankees will want to engage him for. Many think the Yankees will be offering something in the three-year range. It doubtful the LeMahieu will accept that, as he has said his prime concern in the new contract would be security as he approaches the waning years of his career. For average wage earners, that may seem laughable, but in today’s market, star players get paid the big bucks.

Many industry experts expect that LeMahieu will look for an amount in the $20 million range and a period of five years. He will surely have enough money for a quarter pounder and a car wash if he gets that. The New York Yankees afforded LeMahieu their only qualifying offer of $18.9 million for the 2021 season. DJ refused that, making him a free agent and able to test the market for his services.

Most sportswriters knew that the Blue Jays were interested and a few other teams. Then the Washington Nationals who have courted him before are interested in kicking the tires too. But, the newest development could drive his value up even more. The New York Mets have lost their second baseman Robinson Cano to a PED suspension, keeping out the whole 2021 season. The Mets also have a new cash-rich owner in Steve Cohen who always wants to be seen as a winner, much like previous Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner.

Many see Cohan wanting to make a splash to improve the team, and what better way to do it than to acquire LeMahieu. Others say that he can move his centerfielder to second and go after George Springer.  Whatever the case, it’s good news for LeMahieu and not for the Yankees.

The New York Yankees knowing that DJ would like to remain in the Bronx, may negotiate that five-year demand down to four years, which LeMahieu might accept, leaving only the question of the dollars he will want.  With the Yankees’ needs, it is doubtful they will go much above $75-80 million. If he demands the five years and a figure near $100 million, the Yankees may consider that too much and let him walk.