The New York Yankees announced the finalized $90 million, six-year contract between the Yankees and batting champion DJ LeMahieu. Upon doing so, LeMahieu took to Zoom on Thursday to talk about the contract. He stated that he didn’t know why it took so long to complete; he thought it could have been completed in two weeks, he expressed his frustration. But all being said, he is happy to be back. As much as getting the security he wanted, he said he had unfinished business; he is back with the Yankees to win a World Series.
“This is an exciting group. We need to get over that hump. There’s no secret we need to get over that hump. There’s one goal with the Yankees and that’s to win a World Series. We haven’t been able to do it.”
LeMahieu ended the shortened season with an amazing .364 batting average that won him the batting championship for all of baseball. He had 71 hits, 10 of them long balls. He impressed with a 1.011 OPS. He continued to earn his nickname “the machine” for his ability to get on base, hit or not; he even stole 3 bases in the process. He in the call also expressed his views on the Tampa Bay Rays:
“I think we ran into a really hot Tampa team,” LeMahieu said. “I thought we were better than they were. I think they just made a couple plays that we didn’t and that was the bottom line. Going forward, we’ve got to make those plays, whatever it is. I thought last year, they just had our number. It was disappointing and I really think we’re gonna get over the hump here.”
Corey Kluber talks about being ready on day one
Corey Kluber will be pitching for the Yankees this year after not pitching for nearly a year and a half. His season was ended in 2019 when he got hit by a comebacker, which resulted in a fractured right arm. During the offseason, he was traded to the Texas Rangers. That didn’t go well at all, as he ended up pitching one inning during the entire season due to an injured shoulder.
The New York Yankees did not blindly sign Kluber to his $11 million contract; they had the inside information provided by the Yankee’s Eric Cressey, their training and strength/conditioning head. Kluber had long been with Cressey and did his rehab there at his Florida Facility. Kluber is a two time Cy Young Award winner. If he can regain his previous form, he could be every bit as good as Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. On Zoon Thursday, Klube talked about his health:
“I consider myself to be healthy at this point,’’ Kluber said. “I’m not rehabbing anything or tending to any issues lingering with anything. I’m basically at the normal stage of my offseason right now, which is a good feeling to be at: to be out of the rehab mode and just try to get ready for the season.”
It’s finalized Masahiro Tanaka returning to his Eagles in Japan
For seven years, Masahiro Tanaka was a New York Yankee stalwart of the pitching rotation. After the 2020 season, when he posted a 12.37 ERA in the postseason, the Yankees decided not to give him a qualifying offer of $18.9 million. During 2020 he would have earned $23 million had it been a normal season. With the Yankees’ priority of resigning DJ LeMahieu, Tanaka waited for the Yankees to give him an offer, an offer that never came.
The Yankees hired Corey Kluber and traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Jameson Taillon. Tanaka saw the writing on the wall and re-engaged with his old team, the Rakuten Eagles, the team Tanaka spent his first seven professional seasons with. According to reports, he signed a deal with them for a two-year contract worth nearly $9 million US dollars annually. The Eagles confirmed the deal but did not provide financial details.
In his seven years with the New York Yankees, Tanaka posted a 3.74 ERA over 174 games, including seven complete games. Nicknamed the “Tank,” he was a fan favorite of many Yankee fans; many will miss him. After the signing with the Eagles Tanaka he took to Twitter and thanked the Yankee fans:
EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.