DJ LeMahieu has been, without a doubt, one of the most influential ballplayers for the New York Yankees in recent memory. This past season, he led the whole circuit in batting average with .364 and had an amazing 1.011 OPS. He was the Yankees’ leader in fWAR in the last two campaigns, and his offensive and defensive contributions are undeniable.
That’s why it is so important for the New York Yankees to retain his services, now that he’s a free agent. He’s reportedly looking for a five-year deal, which the team may be reluctant to give him because he’s 32. But to be fair, his two best offensive season were 2019 and 2020. He’s showing no signs of decline.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post is reporting that LeMahieu wants to stay in the New York area. What does that mean? His first choice is still re-signing with the Yankees, as he has made clear that he loves playing for the Bombers. But given that the Mets also play in the city, have a clear need in his position (after Robinson Cano’s suspension) and have money to spend, they can’t be dismissed as potential suitors.
A Yankees’ foe may enter the mix
Additionally, Davidoff reports that a Yankees’ divisional foe, the Toronto Blue Jays, are also intrigued by the possibility of signing LeMahieu to a contract. They are an up-and-coming team who finished very close to the Bombers in the 2020’s standings, and adding a difference maker like DJ would increase their chances of surpassing New York in the short term.
However, Davidoff notes that the Blue Jays are at a “geographical” disadvantage. Toronto is relatively close to New York (in comparison to other potential landing spots) but is in another country and out of the New York area, which is where the infielder wants to play.
Plenty of other clubs may be interested in LeMahieu, but for now, it appears to be a three-team race between the Yankees, the Mets, and the Blue Jays, The Bombers are still viewed as the favorites, but it would benefit them to close a deal sooner than later.