New York Yankees News/Rumors: The inconceivable loss of LeMahieu, Charlie Morton, Marcus Semien, and Erik Kratz

William Parlee
New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
USA Today

It seems like the New York Yankees haven’t won a World Series in decades; that is almost true; the last won the big prize in 2009 under the tutelage of Joe Girardi. It also seems like fans haven’t been able to sit in a ballpark and watch their favorite player in forever, but it’s only been one year. It also seems like the Yankees have enjoyed the play of DJ LeMahieu for years. It’s just been two years when the Yankees acquired him from the Colorado Rockies. DJ signed a two year $24 million contract to play at Yankee Stadium.  But as of last Sunday, that is over, and as inconceivable as it may seem, DJ may play at Yankee Stadium next year; it could be in a different team’s uniform. Yes, the Yankees could lose DJ LeMahieu.

The New York Yankees certainly want to keep their MVP and batting title winner. He has been the best and most consistent player while he has been in a Yankee uniform. The Yankees haven’t gotten to the World Series while DJ has been a Yankee, but they wouldn’t have even gotten to the postseason if it wasn’t for DJ’s stellar play.

The Yankees recognize LeMahieu’s value to the team and showed him that when he was given a qualifying offer of $18.9 million to stay with the Yankees, while not offering the same offer to the many other Yankee free agents. DJ has until next Wednesday to inform the Yankees whether he will accept the offer or reject it. John Hayman of MLB.com says he plans to reject it. That means DJ can see what’s out there for him. The Yankees can also negotiate with him. LeMahieu will be looking for a big payday, which is understandable.

Being the best player in MLB for the last two years, he will most likely look to have his pay nearly doubled.  However, at age 32, he might take less money for stability to carry him up to his retirement. DJ will have to see how much interest there is in him, in year when all MLB teams are cash strapped. The general feeling is that the Yankees may offer him as much as $20 million a year and possibly for a 4-5 year span that would take him into his 37th year. If DJ wants more than that the Yankees could let him walk, as they have other fish to fry. The Yankees desperately need to fix their pitching rotation and bullpen.

The Yankees might target Charlie Morton or Marcus Semiem

The Yankees realize they have a problem, and that problem is pitching. However, after a season that saw the Yankees lose nearly $700 million from no fans in the stands and associated revenue losses, security, Yankee Stadium upkeep, and front office and player payrolls, they are cash short. After suffering those loses, and wanting to stay below baseball’s luxury tax threshold it is very doubtful they will go after the best free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer.  Instead they will look for a solid mid-rotation pitcher. They will get some relief in the new season with the return of Luis Severino and the likely return of Domingo German, who was their best pitching in 2019.

Charlie Morton who is 37 years old could be a short gap choice for the Yankees. He would come to the Yankees at half the price of going after Bauer. Because of his age he may look for a short contract of a year or two, which could be attractive to the Yankees. Morton is a solid pitcher that showed his worth this year for the Tampa Bay Rays. He also pitched successfully for the Houston Astros against the Yankees. What may make Morton attractive to the Yankees is that he is a postseason veteran. Since 2013 in the postseason, Morton is 9-4 with an ERA of 3.38. Many believe that Morton would be good fit for the Yankees.

Marcus Semiem has been projected to land with the New York Yankees by MLBtraderumors.com. That of course is no guarantee that he will sign with the Yankees. Semien is a more than qualified shortstop that the Yankees might be interested in.  Semiem is not the greatest hitter in the world, but is an excellent defender at short. Last season he hit  .227 with 7 home runs, but in 2019 he hit .285. Picking up Semien would also mean the Yankees would have the option of moving Gleyber Torres back to his normal position at second base. Semiem would also be a economical signing that would be at a fraction of the cost of Francisco Lindor.

The Yankees 40 year old catcher Erik Kratz to has retired from baseball

The New York Yankees fans may have thought that that old guy Erik Kratz burst onto the scene when he caught for the Major League debut of the pitching pospect sensation Deivi Garcia, but the fact is that he has been around for awhile. In fact he has been a good catcher for the last eleven years. He was with the Yankees during the 2017 season and caught in 16 games for the Yankees this year. He is responsible for the Yankee quote of the year. Upon leaving the dugout to catch Garcias dubut game, he could be heard saying “I’m going out to catch my son.” Kratz was 40 and Garcia 21.

Last night Kratz announced his retirement from baseball after for playing for nine teams in eleven years. Kratz was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays all the way back in 2002, but he didn’t make a major league debut until he was 30 years old in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Phillies, Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays.

Kratz. although not saying he was retiring said that as a free agent he wanted to spend more time with his wife and three children. To prove the finality of his exit from baseball, he admitted he promised his daughter he would buy her a puppy when he ended his career. The family now has a puppy and that’s that.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.