New York Yankees: Where will DJ LeMahieu play in the 2022 season?

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
Mar 8, 2020; Sarasota, Florida, USA; New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu (26) watches batting practice before the start of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and the other 29 major league baseball clubs are still waiting for a resolution to the expired Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the sides no closer to an agreement on major issues. With spring training already delayed, the proposed start of the regular season is now in jeopardy. MLB has said that if the season’s start is delayed, games will be lost and not made up. They have given Monday as a deadline to sign a new agreement, or games will start to be canceled.

While all the Yankee news has centered on getting a new shortstop, they also need a first baseman and some pitching help. The Yankees already have a team to field, but not a competition team that can take them to the postseason. They can leave Luke Voit at first base, along with his injury history. They have named their second baseman in Gleyber Torres. They can move Gio Urshela to short and insert DJ LeMahieu to fill in at the hot corner. But this isn’t the premier infield the Yankees want to start with. They will likely find a new shortstop and trade for Matt Olsen or make a play for the Braves Freddie Freeman.

With a change from the 2021 infield, it will likely put DJ LeMahieu with no permanent place to play, which is a waste of one of the best defensive players in the game. DJ is a three-time Gold Glover and a Silver Slugger as recently as 2020. It would be a shame to lose his talents, being used as a utility player that will never know where he will play for any given game.

DJ suffered a decline in his plate production since his best in baseball’s best hitter season in 2020. Many fans believe this could have been caused by not having a permanent place to play. Now he may face another season where he will be asked to play a position not familiar to him. Let’s take a look at DJ’s journey.

The New York Yankees 32-year-old David John  LeMahieu is in his fourth year with the Yankees. He quickly became a favorite player among all Yankee fans when he joined the Yankees. The Cubs selected LeMahieu in the second round of the 2009 MLB draft, and he made his MLB debut for the Cubs in 2011 before being traded to the Rockies before the 2012 season. LeMahieu won a Gold Glove Award in 2014, 2017, and 2018 and was named an MLB All-Star in 2015 and 2017, and won the National League batting title in 2016. After becoming a free agent, he signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season.

DJ was born in California, but his family moved to Michigan, where he attended high school. When in high school, he played as a shortstop and pitcher for the school’s baseball team. In his senior year, as a leadoff hitter, he batted .574 with eight home runs, 16 doubles, seven triples, 70 runs scored, 32 runs batted in (RBIs), and 39 stolen bases.

Although he was selected in the draft by the Detroit Tigers, he decided to attend Lousiana State University instead. He was a shortstop for the baseball team and excelled with a .350 batting average. He later transitioned from shortstop to second base. LeMahieu was selected to the 2009 College World Series All-Tournament team. He hit .444 in the series leading all players in the series with 12 hits.

After being selected by the Cubs in the 2009 draft, his Cubs career didn’t last as the Cubs traded LeMahieu to the Colorado Rockies in 2011. In May of the following year, he was called up to replace an injured player. In August, he recorded his career-best four-hit game against the Brewers for a 9-6 Rockies win. Later in August, LeMahieu wrote his name into the record books, as he recorded 12 assists in a 9-inning victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 28th. He was a 2015 All-Star, and in 2016, LeMahieu won the National League batting

title. His .348 season average led all of Major League Baseball. He was a 2017 All-Star, and in 2018 he was named the best defensive player in all of the majors.

DJ becomes a New York Yankee

DJ always wanted to play for the New York Yankees. His childhood idol was Derek Jeter. He, in an interview, said that he wanted to be like Jeter and modeled his on the field and off the field life after him. On January 14th of last year, DJ signed a $24 million two-year contract with our Yankees. He couldn’t have the number 2, so he selected #26. During his short time with the Yankees, he has played shortstop and third base but primarily second base, where he has excelled. The Yankee organization refers to him as the super-utility player. He quickly became a fan favorite for his frequent and timely hitting and good play at second base. For his hitting, he was coined “Tthe Machine.”

LeMahieu hit a bump in the road when he sprained his thumb swinging at a ball. At first, the Yankees thought he would be day-to-day, but the soreness wasn’t relieved, and he went on the 10 DL on August 6th. He returned from the injured list on Saturday, August 29th. Although in his first game back, he was not involved in the Yankees’ win, he did hit a triple in the game. Since then, he has had a hit in every game, including two last night. For the season, DJ is leading the team with a .398 batting average and an impressive OPS of .965. It was assumed that DJ would be a lock on being the Yankee’s MVP again in 2020, however with Luke Voit tied for the most home runs in baseball, he lost out on that award.

LeMahieu will become a free agent at the end of 2020 and re-signed with the Yankees on a new six-year contract. Now DJ finds himself fighting for a permanent position again this season.